Brad Cotmen, co-ordinator of Free Our Finest in Red Deer, says he hopes the event will raise about $20,000 this year for the Special Olympics. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

Law enforcement officers will camp out to raise money for Special Olympics in Red Deer

Law enforcement officers will take to the roof for 54 hours in north Red Deer to raise awareness and funds for the Special Olympics.

The Parkland Mall Walmart at 6375 50th Ave. will host officers who will be locked up and camping atop scaffolding from Friday to Sunday to show their support of Special Olympics athletes.

Free Our Finest raises funds for Special Olympics in various communities, including Edmonton and Calgary.

The Red Deer event is one of the highest contributors throughout Alberta, said event co-ordinator Brad Cotmen.

“We do this event in Grande Prairie, Wetaskiwin, Camrose, Calgary, Edmonton, Medicine Hat and Lethbridge, and consistently, Red Deer is one of the largest contributors,” said the Alberta sheriff.

Last year, the event raised just over $18,000.

The most money was raised in 2015, when officers were able to collect $23,000, Cotmen said, despite the downturn in the economy.

The goal this year is to raise $20,000, which will stay in the Red Deer area to assist local athletes.

Cotmen said doing the event year after year, the officers are able to see the change the games bring about in Special Olympics athletes’ lives.

Those who are interested in donating can find the officers and some of the athletes at the Parkland Mall parking lot on the weekend. Officers will have a loud speaker and microphone, so they can talk to people on the ground.

“They’re like a set of duelling pianos, they’re pretty funny to see,” said Cotmen, referring to the police officers, who will be atop scaffolding.

They will entertain the crowds with banter, music and conversations.

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