Niki Nelson is no stranger to adventure.
Whether it’s arresting domestic abuse suspects, responding to high-risk calls or scaling down a Milwaukee skyscraper, Nelson’s been in the middle of it.
Her next big adventure, though?
“I do not want to do the Polar Plunge because I do not want to jump into the freezing water,” said Nelson with a laugh. Despite the cold and frigid temperatures that are sure to come during the event, Nelson’s still helping out the Special Olympic athletes during the fundraiser and plans to leap into the frigid water.
Nelson, a 14-year veteran with the Waukesha Police Department, has been active in promoting Special Olympics during her entire policing career.
Nelson was honored earlier this year by the organization for the work she has done with Special Olympics. It’s been a year of Special Olympics for Nelson, who has participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run, Over the Edge, waitressed tables at Buffalo Wild Wings and Texas Roadhouse and traveled to Canada for the international Torch Run where she met police officers from all over the world.
So why does the Carroll University graduate and Waukesha County resident coordinate the police department’s involvement with Special Olympics?
Nelson is typically surrounded at events by smiling athletes who are quick to give hugs and share their hearts. And it’s why Nelson’s getting others involved.
“The athletes – just their enthusiasm,” Nelson said. “They are awesome – their love for life.”
Nelson, whose own uncle is severely handicapped, got involved with Special Olympics a year before she was hired in Waukesha. While she has been getting other officers involved, the participation has increased since Police Chief Russell Jack was promoted in 2009, she said.
And included in the increased participation among the Waukesha Police Department employees, Nelson is hoping for more participation among Waukesha’s special athletes. She has gotten to know several of them on a first-name basis.
“We are trying to get more athletes involved for the events out here,” she said.
From the Special Olympics of Wisconsin website about its Polar Plunge fundraiser:
- How many people do we need to form a team? All you need is two people and you have yourself a team!
- Do I have to plunge on a team? No, plunging by yourself is okay too!
- Does each team member need to register or do we just register the team? Each team member must register and each must raise $75 to receive the official Polar Plunge long-sleeve T-shirt.
- Is there an age requirement to plunge? No, there is no age requirement to Plunge. Plungers under 18 must have their waiver signed by a parent/guardian.
- When do I turn in the donations I raised? Hold on to your donations until you check-in either on the day of the Polar Plunge or when you attend an early check-in event the week of the Plunge. All money that you have raised online will be credited to you when you check-in as well.