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updated: 2/23/2014 6:29 AM

Elgin police prepare for Polar Plunge in Palatine

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Elgin police officer Rob Hartman has been losing weight in anticipation of his first Polar Plunge next weekend.

No, it's not about looking good, he said, but about being as fit and healthy as possible for the shocking effect the freezing water will have on his system.

Hartman is among about a dozen Elgin police officers who so far have signed up for the March 2 event in Palatine, which raises money for Special Olympics Illinois, Elgin Police Cmdr. Ana Lalley said.

As of Friday, the department had raised nearly $2,800, according to

That's the first of three yearly events the Elgin Police Department participates in to raise money for Special Olympics Illinois, said Lalley who, along with detective Tom Wolek, organizes the event.

There's the "Cop on Top" fundraiser in May, during which officers yell from the roof of a Dunkin' Donuts to attract people to donate.

Also, officers take part in the Law Enforcement Torch Run, the largest fundraising event benefiting Special Olympics Illinois.

Altogether, every year the department raises between $8,000 and $9,000, in addition to selling T-shirts and hats, Lalley said. The effort was started years ago by detective Brian Gorcowski, she said.

So does one get used to doing the Plunge year after year? Not really, Lalley said.

"It's not enjoyable by any means," she said. "The worst part is anticipating going in. Once you're in, you're almost done. It takes maybe 30 or 45 seconds," she said.

That's why Hartman decided to do it this year, after getting involved with "Cop on Top" last summer.

"I've seen them do this year after year. I saw pictures. I talked to my wife and decided to do it," he said. "I'm just going to wing it and jump in and plunge."

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