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Special Dedication

UMPD Officer Spearheads Rooftop Fundraiser

By Natalie Koltun

Cops

We all know the cliché about cops at a doughnut shop. But what about on top of one?

For the fourth year, Sgt. Paige Miller of the UMD Police Department organized the local version of “Cops on Rooftops,” a 30-hour campout on the Dunkin’ Donuts in College Park.

Starting at 6 a.m. Oct. 24, Miller and her fellow officers perched on the roof and greeted customers through bullhorns, sold raffle tickets and competed in a doughnut-eating contest to raise $8,472 for Special Olympics, exceeding their $7,000 goal.

What drew Miller to law enforcement nearly 17 years ago was her desire to help people. But this goes well beyond her normal police duties. Her passion has inspired her to devote countless hours off the clock in a year-round effort—from brainstorming new fundraising ideas to rallying fellow officers—in support of the Special Olympians who have become like family to her. In June, the Police Chiefs’ Association of Prince George’s County named her the Community Services Officer of the Year.

Rooftop FundraiserInspired by her high school softball coach’s efforts, she discovered a local chapter of the organization. It wasn’t until after she became a police officer at UMD that she began heading its fundraisers. Now, after 12 years of bonding with athletes and supporting the program, it’s second nature. Miller is constantly preparing for the next big event—whether January’s Polar Bear Plunge, where officers raise money by racing into the icy Chesapeake Bay or a springtime bocce ball tournament at Maryland Day with athletes from the Prince George’s County chapter of Special Olympics.

“I really love getting the athletes’ perspectives on things,” Miller says. “Every organization appreciates monetary donations, so the money we raise gets put to good use, but working with them ourselves is just invaluable to everyone.”

Through her longstanding relationship with the program, Miller’s name has become almost synonymous with Special Olympics, says Capt. Laura Dyer.

After all these years many of the officers even know the athletes by name, Dyer says. “I think it makes a much bigger impact on them and the officers than she realizes.”

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