York County police officers will trade in their handcuffs and service pistols for check pads and trays as they take part in the annual Cops and Lobsters this week.

A number of officers will serve as waiters Thursday during the event at Red Lobster, 2555 E. Market St., in Springettsbury Township. Tips they receive will go to York County Special Olympics.

"So far we have several officers signed up to work the lunch and dinner shifts," said York City Police Detective Kyle Hower, who is organizing the event. "Some officers, including myself, are working both lunch and dinner shifts."

The officers will be at the restaurant for the lunch shift from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and from 5 to 8 p.m. for the dinner shift, Hower said.

Fun time: Each officer will be paired with a server, and Hower is encouraging patrons to also leave tips for the restaurant servers.

Alicia Beegle, Red Lobster manager, said she looks forward to the event each year.

"It's pretty humorous to see them (police officers) outside of their element," she said. "People look forward to coming out."

Apart from a spilled drink or two over the years, Beegle said past events have gone on without a hitch.

Last year, Cops and Lobsters raised $4,492 for the local Special Olympics, according to Hower.

Athletes: On top of serving food, officers will also showcase what they do in their day jobs.


There will be a display by the York County Quick Response Team, children can be fingerprinted, and a police bagpiper and drummer will be on hand to play a few tunes, Hower said.

"It's a great time as officers from different county departments work close together to raise money for a great cause," he said.

Special Olympic athletes will also be on hand to greet patrons as they enter the restaurant, said Robyn Liggins-Smith, spokeswoman for the York County Special Olympics.

Police officers also support the Special Olympics by taking part in the annual Polar Plunge and the Law Enforcement Torch Run, she said.

"The Cops and Lobsters event is one that brings the community together with our athletes and law enforcement," Liggins-Smith said. "Without the support we receive, our athletes may not be able to participate in all of our activities."

-- Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.