When police officers step into their uniforms, they're ready for a multitude of situations.
But for Patrolman Matt Rahde, when he puts on his North Canton police uniform Feb. 16, he's just in for a very cold, very uncomfortable situation.
The police officer will, for the second time, take a plunge into a swimming pool filled with ice-cold water as part of the annual Polar Plunge at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, which raises money for Special Olympics Ohio. The event is one of nine plunges taking place throughout Ohio between November 2012 and March 2013.
Even though he's a returning participant, he's still expecting a shivering experience.
"It's cold," Rahde summed it up. "You hit that water, it definitely takes your breath away."
Rahde, who's worked for the North Canton Police Department for six years, is also a resource officer within North Canton City Schools. This year, he's part of the Polar Plunging Police — a group of police officers from various Ohio departments — and he's committed to raising is $1,000.
He's recruited the help of students at the North Canton Middle School, which now has donation jars placed throughout the building.
Plus, Rahde said he'll ask his family, Facebook friends and others for some spare change, as he's done in the past. Last year, he enticed his friends to donate by posting on Facebook that he'd shave his head if he raised $1,000.
It only took eight days to reach that goal, Rahde said.
He opted to not shave his head this year but said it's always a possibility in the future, as well as a competition between the classes to see who can raise enough money (and have the honor of shaving his head).
The event aims to raise $75,000, and, as of Monday night, it had raised a total of $27,263 with just 12 days to go until the event.
Rahde said Westerville Police Chief Joe Morbitzer "suckered him into" the event last year, but really, it didn't take too much persuasion.
"It's a very good cause, in my opinion," Rahde said. "So I was happy to help out as much as I could."
Interested in helping Rahde reach his goal? Check out his fundraising page here.