November 27, 2021

The heat’s on the police — in fundraiser

Cortland Standard file photo

City Community-Oriented Police Officer Jesse Abbott patrols on Main Street in this file photo from 2017. The Cortland Police Department will be raising money for the Office of Community Oriented Policing by participating in the World's Hottest Chocolate Challenge.

Jesse Abbott doesn’t eat much hot food.

That makes Cortland’s community-oriented policing officer all the more nervous for participating in the World’s Hottest Chocolate challenge.

“I’m definitely going to be in trouble. I’m going to be crying and I might actually be getting sick,” Abbott said with a laugh.

Abbott and five other members of the Cortland Police Department are using the challenge as a way to raise funds for the events the Office of Community Oriented Policing hosts throughout the year like Shop With a Cop and Coffee With a Cop, he said.

If the office can reach $1,000 in donations, the members will eat the chocolate and film their reactions to be posted to the office’s Facebook page, Abbott said.

No date is planned for when the challenge will happen.

If the office does reach the $1,000 goal, Abbott thinks the challenge might happen in January.

The chocolate is rated at 9 million Scoville units, according to the product’s description, which is “900 times hotter than a jalapeno!”

The Scoville unit is the measurement for quantifying spiciness of peppers, according to JustEnoughHeat.Com.

Other participating members are:

  • Police Chief F. Michael Catalano.
  • Deputy Police Chief Paul Sandy.
  • Officer Seth Rowland.
  • Officer Anthony Natioli.
  • Officer Pat O’Donnell.

Even spicy food eaters like Sandy are nervous about the heat.

“I don’t know if anything is going to prepare you for it, but it’s for a good cause so I’ll give it a shot,” Sandy said.

He said donations will be beneficial.

“What’s a little pain for a good cause?” he asked. “We definitely need to put the money for a good cause and I’m all for it.”

Abbott was inspired after he saw police officers in western parts of the country participate in the event as a fundraising response to the mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017.

“I’m sweating just talking about it,” he said. “It’s going to be tough. But it’s going to be worth it, hopefully, if we can raise some money for the position.”