It takes a certain amount of bravery to want to be a police officer. Sometimes, it’s the bravery to plunge into icy waters in a Michigan February.
Kellogg Community College’s Police Academy students do it every year as part of the Kalamazoo and Calhoun County Polar Plunge to raise funds for Special Olympics Michigan. KCC Public Safety Education Director Rob Miller has done it seven times.
“It’s not as bad they think it’s going to be,” Miller said. “It’s cold, and then you get out, and then it feels fine.”
Academy cadets are raising money now for this year’s plunge, which begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, at Bell’s Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo.
In 2016, the KCC team raised $4,475. Last year, they raised $7,041 through more than 150 donors. Miller said he hopes to beat that amount this year.
It’s a chance for students to be a part of their community, something that will help them become better police officers.
“With the Academy, we have that sense of community spirit,” Miller said. “Having investment in the community that you serve. That’s really what we’re establishing by doing the Torch Run, or the Polar Plunge or going to Dudley Elementary and mentoring some of these students. In police work, you have to be committed.”
While nobody’s forced into the tank of icy water, Miller said, there is some peer pressure that happens. At past events, Academy students stayed in the tank and huddled together until they were all through.
Miller started doing the Plunge when he was an officer at the Battle Creek Police Department, but he’s got an advantage.
“I’m also a Yooper, so the weather isn’t that bad,” Miller said.
Individuals interested in participating this year can join KCC’s team or support the team by donating to benefit Special Olympics Michigan on its behalf online at www.firstgiving.com/team/362912.
The Kalamazoo and Calhoun County Polar Plunge is affiliated with the grassroots Law Enforcement Torch Run, through which law enforcement and corrections officers raise funds for and create awareness of Special Olympics Michigan year round.
For more information about KCC’s Police Academy or other Criminal Justice programming at the College, visit www.kellogg.edu/social-sciences.
Pictured above, KCC Police Academy students and employees pose for a group photo before participating in the 2017 Kalamazoo and Calhoun County Polar Plunge in Kalamazoo.
For more news about Kellogg Community College, view our latest press releases online at daily.kellogg.edu/category/news-releases.