LEWISTON – Cops and doughnuts.

Rather than buck the stereotype, police Detective Marc Robitaille decided to put it to good use – for a good cause.

Next week, officers from four police departments in Maine will go elbow to elbow to see who one can gobble up six glazed doughnuts the fastest. And without losing breakfast.

Robitaille said he briefly considered an all-you-can-eat event, but dismissed the idea as potentially messy.

Cops hope to raise money for Special Olympics Maine. The idea is to attract a crowd of customers who would then donate to the organization.

Last year, Lewiston and Auburn competed. Lewiston’s Officer Matthew Vierling walked away the winner. He plans to defend his title this year.

He’s been training with repetitions of glazed Dunkin’ Munchkins, Robitaille said. To boost his stamina, he occasionally tosses in a jelly-filled.

He’ll be challenged by officers from Maine State Police, the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department and the Auburn Police Department.

Over the past 20 years, police throughout the state have raised more than $1 million for the Special Olympics, Robitaille said. Hundreds of officers also traditionally compete in the organization’s annual Law Enforcement Torch Run.

Robitaille hopes the doughnut contest will become an annual event, spreading to other departments throughout the state.

In addition to police, Special Olympics athletes will be on hand during next week’s contest.

Is Robitaille worried about perpetuating the stereotype of cops eating doughnuts? He said police are always concerned about their image. The way they conduct themselves on the job enforcing laws every day is the best way to create a positive image, he said. Raising money for a worthy cause helps, too.