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Police get ready to jump in a lake

Sometimes, it might seem Farmington's cops have a weird sense of adventure. Really weird. Like, when they think it is a good idea to go jump in a lake in the middle of winter.

But that is exactly what a handful of them are going to do -- again -- next weekend. For the third year in a row, officers Tom Strese, Nate Siem and Cassie Johnson are taking the Polar Plunge to raise money for Minnesota Special Olympics. And this year, they are being joined by former Farmington police chief Dan Siebenaler.

At 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, the four will don old uniforms and line up, take a big breath, and take the plunge into Lac Lavon in Burnsville.

"We try to think of a theme, but we're also representing the city of Farmington. That's just our way to show support to Special Olympics. We always try to jump in something that says Farmington on it," said Strese. "We always treat it like a team event. We all show up together, leave together, jump together."

But if the idea of jumping into ice-cold water in February seems a little crazy to residents, they can rest assured it also seems a little crazy to those who are jumping.

"Every time we get there, once we get in line, we all kind of look at each other and say, 'Why are we doing this again?' And then we jump and then hurry up to get out of the water. There's really no big preparation for it," Strese said. "We're in the water for about 10 seconds. It's more of a shock to the body than anything."

Okay, so maybe that explains why the current officers would take the plunge. But to come out of retirement? Siebenaler looks at it as something he has always wanted to do, and since he has been on a few "adventures" in his retirement -- sky diving, glider rides, deep water fishing -- the timing just seems right.

"I have sort of become a bit of an adrenaline junkie over the past year," he says. "In the wintertime, it's hard to come up with adventures, so I am adding this to the list, and at the same time, raising money with Special Olympics."

Each jumper must raise at least $75 in order to participate. The local police department does not have a specific fundraising goal, Strese said. They'll just raise what they can through donations from coworkers, family and friends. This year, they are inviting residents to make donations, too.

"If you get a chance, and can donate a dollar just to help Special Olympics out, that's great. All of us truly believe it's a good cause," he said.

For more information about the Polar Plunge and to see the Farmington Police Department's team site, visit