The server staff at Casa Del Rey in Grantsville wore a different uniform during the dinner rush Monday night.
Officers from the Grantsville City Police Department and deputies with the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office tried their hand at a new kind of public service as waiters and waitresses for the Tip-A-Cop fundraiser. All tips earned by officers between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Monday went toward county law enforcement’s Shop With A Cop program.
Children from families in need are given the funds to buy Christmas dinner, winter clothing and presents while being paired with a police officer as part of the Shop With A Cop program. The Dec. 19 event will also include breakfast, a visit from Santa and a ride in a police car.
Grantsville City Police Det. Lydon Allred said Tip-A-Cop is fun for officers because it allows them to try their hand at a different profession and benefits a good cause. The Tip-A-Cop events on Monday at Casa Del Rey and this Thursday at Applebee’s in Tooele are also major contributors to the Shop With A Cop program.
“It’s our biggest major fundraiser,” Allred said. “[It’s] something we look forward to quite a bit and a good portion of our donations come from this event.”
While local businesses are the biggest contributors, Tip-A-Cop allows county residents the opportunity to chip in as well, Allred said.
Grantsville City Police Chief Kevin Turner said the event is more than just a fundraiser — it’s good for community relations, too.
“People come out and mingle with the police,” he said. “They see us more on a personal level than a police officer versus citizen level, so we can socialize and talk. … They get to know us and it puts us in a different light.”
While serving the community might be in the description of their day job, Allred admitted working as a waiter is a unique challenge. There’s plenty that can go wrong with safely transporting food in a busy restaurant and trying to get orders right, he said.
“We’re writing it down and we’re still screwing it up,” Allred joked.
Officers were expected to rotate through serving duty over the four-hour period, according to Allred. Each officer was also paired with a regular server at Casa Del Rey to help with the details of the job.
Jay and Jeanette Marshall brought their three children to the Tip-A-Cop event, which they’ve attended every year for the past several editions. While the wait staff Wednesday might have been a bit inexperienced, Jeanette Marshall recognized their effort.
“They usually do a pretty good job,” she said.
The Marshalls missed the Tip-A-Cop event in Grantsville last year but made sure to attend the Applebee’s fundraiser later that week. There’s a reason the Marshalls are so committed to the Shop With A Cop event, Jeanette Marshall said.
“We always feel like we need to support things like this,” she said. “We’ve been participants of it and we like to give back.”
Turner said Monday night’s event was the most successful Tip-A-Cop yet with more than $3,750 in tips received.
Officers from the Tooele City Police Department and sheriff’s deputies will take over server duties at the Tooele Applebee’s for the final Tip-A-Cop event of the season on Dec. 10 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.