Police Officers from Milton and Johns Creek will be taking part in the Polar Plunge, where they will be jumping into Lake Lanier as part of a fundraiser to benefit Georgia Special Olympics. Here, Milton Police Chief Deborah Harrell cheers on officers Andrew Phillips and Romney Scott as they brave the frigid waters of Lake Winward on Friday morning in preparation for Lanier.
Milton, Johns Creek police officers take Polar Plunge
By Joan Durbin / Neighbor Newspapers
By nature, police officers are stalwart, resolute and brave.
But a few officers in Milton and Johns Creek are about to demonstrate extraordinary fortitude by jumping into Lake Lanier in the dead of winter.
On Saturday at 1:30 p.m., at least four intrepid Milton cops and five courageous souls from the Johns Creek Police Department will take the Polar Plunge to raise money for Georgia Special Olympics.
“I don’t know if there’s really any way to prepare for this,” said Milton Officer Andrew Phillips, one of the participants. “Guess you plan for the worst and hope for the best. The worst would be if Lake Lanier freezes over. We probably could go and pick up some wet suits, but that’s not in the plan.”
Johns Creek Police Maj. John Wilcox also will be a Plunger, but it hasn’t been easy to recruit his fellow officers. “Most people are scared of the cold water, but you don’t have to go all the way under water. All you have to do is dip a toe in to be considered a Plunger.”
According to the Special Olympics Web site, the Polar Plunge is the largest fundraising effort benefiting the program, and cops in many states across the nation participate in the annual event.
For Milton officers, this is the latest in a series of fundraisers for Special Olympics, which will culminate in three months in the Law Enforcement Torch Run. Up next will be Cuffed for a Cause in early spring.
“Basically, we’ll be handcuffing a cop to a treadmill for eight hours,” Phillips said.
But first, they’ll have to get past that dip in the lake’s frigid waters. Those who take the plunge must have raised at least $50 in pledges for Special Olympics. Phillips, Sgt. Romney Scott, Capt. Shawn McCarty and Chief Deborah Harrell have all qualified.
“I wasn’t really nervous about it until it got so cold,” the chief said last week the day after relentless winds battered north Fulton and sent temperatures plummeting. “A wet suit crossed my mind, but that would be cheating. I have to lead by example. I can’t wimp out.”
The Milton department’s overall fund raising goal for Special Olympics is $3,000, and more than $1,000 has already been pledged.