WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Every Winston-Salem police recruit has a thick binder, packed with everything they need to know to become a successful officer. But some of the lessons taught at the Alexander Beaty Public Safety Training and Support Center can't be learned in a classroom.
"People see us in uniform and with a badge, they also can see us as people too," Winston-Salem police recruit Jenny Temas said. "The goal is not to go and arrest people, we want to take part in the community and make friends with people."
The 33 members of the Basic Law Enforcement Training class are becoming a part of their community by taking part in the Triad Chill Polar Plunge. The plunge is a fundraiser that benefits Special Olympics.
"Not the biggest fan of jumping into cold water, much rather jump into warm water," Winston-Salem police recruit leader Tanner Somerville said. "But since it's for a good cause, I'm happy to do it."
By using social media, Temas said they were able to raise nearly $1,800 for Special Olympics.
"I've used Instagram to put the link out and Facebook," Temas said. "Facebook has been good because you can share the link as well."
It appears the rookies are acing the "giving back class." They are leading the other Winston-Salem police teams. Officer Kellie Wilkes is one of the members of Winston-Salem police District One's "Copsicles." She feels the heat the training class is bringing.
"The competition is getting intense, but at the end of the day we are one team and it's all about raising money for the athletes," Wilkes said.
And watching the Special Olympic athletes compete and achieve their goals is the reason why Wilkes will be taking the Triad Chill Polar Plunge on Saturday.
"It's very humbling," Wilkes said. "I've been volunteering with Special Olympics for over eight years. So I wanted to do something different as opposed to standing on the sidelines cheering the athletes on."
The competition between the latest training class and sworn officers is generating lots of fun for the Winston-Salem Police. But in the end, Somerville believes it's the Special Olympics that will benefit the most.
"Everyone loves a good competition, it's all good fun, trying to raise funds for the Special Olympics," Somerville said.
If the training class raises $2,000, their sergeant will participate in the Triad Chill Polar Plunge.
For more information about the Triad Chill Polar Plunge or to make a donation to Special Olympics, click here.