Police and their supporters plan to take a cold plunge this weekend to raise money — and awareness —- for suicide prevention.
"Freezing for a Reason" will benefit the American Foundation for Suicide and New Jersey Cop2Cop, which offers support to police officers and their families.
Suicide of those in law enforcement is an often ignored or hidden problem that event organizer Lauren Washburn understands.
Her uncle was a veteran Atlantic City police sergeant who took his own life last year. Several family members asked that his name not be published out of respect for the family.
"It's something you have to talk about in order to prevent it," she said.
At least four Atlantic County law enforcement workers have committed suicide in the last six years.
"For the longest time, police officers were always looked at the one who didn't have problems, they were the ones to solve problems," PBA President Paul Barbere said. "But police officers are people, too. In dealing with everyone else's problems eight hours a day, their problems are often overlooked. Bringing awareness to this should be at the forefront."
The event will begin at noon Sunday at the beach off St. James Place. Entry requires a $25 donation, although participants are asked to try to raise at least $100. Bracelets also are being sold for $5.
Afterward, there will be a "Warm Up" party at the Irish Pub, with discounted food, a 50-50 and Chinese auction, Washburn said.
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