Everett Police Department Sgt. John Zeka and his fellow officers will be serving and waiting tables at Buffalo Wild Wings during the Tip-A-Cop fundraiser on Saturday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Everett Police Department Sgt. John Zeka and his fellow officers will be serving and waiting tables at Buffalo Wild Wings during the Tip-A-Cop fundraiser on Saturday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Officers apron up for Tip-A-Cop at Buffalo Wild Wings

Sgt. Zeka: “Short of serving food and running the cash register, we do whatever they ask us to do.”

EVERETT — Everett police officers will serve the public in a different way Saturday.

Officers will help wait tables at Buffalo Wild Wings in Everett Mall. And they’ll take away your plates of bones and barbecue-smudged napkins.

Just make sure to give them a tip.

Tip-A-Cop raises money for Special Olympics Washington.

Last year’s event at a Red Robin restaurant raised more than $4,600, said Sgt. John Zeka.

Police departments nationwide join forces as “celebrity waiters” at restaurants for Special Olympics. Lynnwood police worked the tables at Red Robin in October.

About a dozen departments hosted Tip-A-Cop events this year in Washington, said Ellie Hardwick, spokeswoman for the state’s Special Olympics, which has 18,000 athletes.

“Everett PD is very involved and has done quite well in the fundraising department for us,” Hardwick said.

About 1,125 athletes in Snohomish County participate in Special Olympics. A volleyball meet will be played at the Boeing Fitness Center in Everett on Saturday.

Zeka and other Everett officers helped out at the summer games with torch carrying and medal awards.

An Everett patrol car with a Tip-A-Cop banner will be parked in front of Buffalo Wild Wings for kids to peruse from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Officers will be in uniform. Some will be aproned up.

“We’ll have some stuff to hand out to the kids, stickers,” Zeka said. “We typically have seven or eight officers and a couple of citizen volunteers.”

Zeka said it’s a chance to mingle.

“This gives officers and the community a chance to get together in a positive way. We can meet and talk to people and it’s not the 911 call. It gives both sides a good opportunity to meet when it’s not something bad that has happened,” he said.

They can’t actually bring the wings to the tables, due to food handling rules.

“Short of serving food and running the cash register, we do whatever they ask us to do,” Zeka said. “We can get people drinks. We bus tables. Take the dishes back to the dishwasher.”

Zeka, 56, comes to the table with restaurant experience, dating back to the 1970s.

“I did both, cooking and waiting, on the night shift,” he said.

The tips for cops get the nod from Uncle Sam.

“This is a tax-deductible donation. We are able to provide receipts on the spot,” he said.

Don’t forget to reward the regular wait staff.

“They are supposed to tip the server as well,” Zeka said.

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

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