By Brandi Makuski
Local law enforcement are gearing up for the 2018 Polar Plunge.
Stevens Point police are currently organizing their team for this year’s jump, which benefits Special Olympics of Wisconsin, a favorite charity of local law enforcement. The group jumps into the frigid waters of the Wisconsin River each year under the team name “Copsicles”.
Corp. Brian Brooks has jumped for the past three years and expects about a dozen officers, and their family members, to participate.
“You get last-minute people all the time, so we may have more,” Brooks said, adding with the distraction of a recent relocation of the police department, the team has been slower to organize. “We’re hoping to get more donations than last year, but it’s still pretty early yet, so who knows.”
The Copsicles rounded out the top five teams in 2017, having raised just under $3,000.
Chief Martin Skibba said he will once again participate in the jump as well. If his team raises at least $1,000, officers will get to “Toss the Boss” into the water before the rest of the group makes the plunge.
“I may have a special element, something with some flashing lights, for my uniform if they do get to ‘toss’ me, we’ll see,” Skibba said.
Last year, officers from Plover, Portage Co., Wisconsin State Patrol and the Wausau field office of the FBI all joined the Copsicles team.
This event marks the 19th consecutive year city police have participated in the jump.
“I think there’s a couple of reasons we do it,” Brooks said. “It’s an easy and interesting way to give back to the community, and it’s a great cause too. And it’s probably a bit of a tough guy thing…but everybody goes for a good time, and it’s a good way to represent the department.”
Each participant in the Feb. 3 Polar Plunge needs to raise a minimum of $75 for their entry fee. While the Stevens Point Police Officers Organization is sponsoring each Copsicle jumper at the $50 level, the group is also taking donations from the public.
Special Olympics Wisconsin hopes to raise a total of $25,000 from next month’s event, which will be held at Anchor Bay Bar & Grill, 3460 North Biron Dr. in Wisconsin Rapids.
The event will take place starting at 10 AM.
Along with the traditional plunge, where participants typically dress in outrageous costumes, new this year is a mile-long snowshoe walk/run event.