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DPS Officers Cheer on Special Olympics Athletes


After presenting medals to the winners of the Special Olympics Missouri's bowling contest, members of Saint Louis University's Department of Public Safety (DPS) weren't finished celebrating the successes of all of the assembled student-athletes.

DPS officers at Special Olympics Bowling

Members of SLU's Department of Public Safety including (from left) Sgt. Ed Agnew, Officer Mike Otten, Officer Sheila Hatcher, Officer Jamarr Porter, Officer Max Otten and Officer Josh Johnson, acted as honorary judges at the Missouri Special Olympics' Bowling Competition featuring student-athletes from the St. Louis Public Schools. The officers are joined here by Jocelyn Diehl, regional program director with Special Olympics Missouri. Photo by Amelia Flood

As the last athlete received a medal, the officers, who had acted as the contest's honorary presenters, cheered, led the crowd in clapping and high-fived every child and more than a few adults who were gathered at the Moolah Lanes.

Handing awards at the bowling contest is just one of the ways that SLU's officers, and Chief Jim Moran, nurture a longtime relationship with the Special Olympics, its families and athletes.

"SLU's DPS, and law enforcement officers all around the state are such instrumental fundraisers and supporters of Special Olympics Missouri," Jocelyn Diehl, regional program director for Special Olympics Missouri said. "We love when officers are able to help award medals at competitions so that they can put faces and names to those athletes for whom they are working so hard. This is a powerful way to connect these two groups."

Plunges, Runs and Barbecues to Support Athletes

In February 2018, SLU's DPS officers did their best impressions of Kali, the St. Louis Zoo's famous polar bear, as part of the Special Olympics' Law Enforcement Torch Run, plunging into freezing waters in Creve Coeur Lake.

The plunge, led by Moran and including DPS officers Henry Owens, Steve Roy, Johsiey Litherland, Sheila Hatcher, Sean Polley, Zachary Bernard and Timothy Allen, raised $1,415 for the Special Olympics and contributed hours to the University's bicentennial service challenge.

DPS Polar Plunge
DPS officers and Chief Jim Moran take the plunge - a polar plunge - to benefit the Special Olympics. Submitted photo

In addition to plunges and runs, DPS has organized car washes and barbecue cook outs on SLU's campus to raise funds for the organization and other charities. 

Officers and their families have also volunteered at Special Olympics events, as coaches, assistants and in other roles. 

Moran was recently honored by the Saint Louis Bar Foundation, the philanthropic arm of The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, with a Spirit of Justice Award, for his professional leadership and his community work, including with groups like the Special Olympics.

At the October bowling competition, DPS officers including Mike Otten, Josh Johnson, Max Otten, Hatcher and Sgt. Ed Agnew cheered on more than 110 Special Olympics bowlers over three days, offering encouragement and working with Special Olympics staff members to honor the highest scorer bowlers.

DPS officers congratulate a winner

Members of SLU's Department of Public Safety (DPS) congratulate a winning student-athlete at the Special Olympics Missouri's Bowling Competition at the Moolah Lanes. Photo by Amelia Flood

Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution that values academic excellence, life-changing research, compassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service. Founded in 1818, the University fosters the intellectual and character development of more than 13,000 students on campuses in St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Building on a legacy of now more than 200 years, Saint Louis University continues to move forward with an unwavering commitment to a higher purpose, a greater good.

Story and photos by Amelia Flood, University Marketing and Communications