Several Santa Barbara County law enforcement agencies worked alongside Chili’s Bar & Grill staff in Goleta Monday night for its eleventh annual “Tip-a-Cop” fundraiser to support the Santa Barbara Special Olympics.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, county probation officers and District Attorney Office investigators volunteered for the charity event as waiters to serve the restaurant’s customers for the evening. The participants’ tips benefitted the SBSO to help provide sports training for intellectually disabled people.

According to SBC Sheriff’s Dept. Sergeant Gregg Weitzman, the event strengthens community relationships.

“I have done the ‘Tip-a-Cop’ in Santa Barbara County for over 20 years,” Weitzman said. “I love doing it; I get a chance to see friends, the waitresses, all the people [in] the restaurant that I do not get to see very often. I come and donate my time to the Special Olympics, it is a great honor.”

Weitzman said volunteers get a first-hand look at the restaurant staff’s daily endeavors.

“It is hard work in here,” Weitzman said. “I run the aviation unit — that is simple, it is way easier than being a waiter. People should be real nice to their waiting people, they have a tough job.”

Gavin Lord, a fourth-year German and philosophy major who attended the benefit, said that the fundraiser builds personal connections between customers and county enforcement.

“One guy was telling us about this bike race he was in [in] IV back in the ’80s where a thousand guys on beach cruisers went through 20 kegs, I couldn’t believe it, that was crazy,” Lord said. “The cops when they are off duty are just like you, me or any other schlup at Chili’s just watching a football game kicking back.”

Goleta resident Leif Koh said the event provides an entertaining opportunity for community members to support the non-profit organization.

“This is sweet, I tell you, I get to come out here and have some buffalo wings and a beer, and I actually can justify it because I am giving to the Special Olympics,” Koh said. “The boys in blue are doing a great job tonight, these guys are busting their asses out there, and really putting that service into protect and serve.”