AUGUSTA — Police in the capital city have until Thursday afternoon to dump a bucket of ice water over their heads.

The agencies, including Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, Troop D of the Maine State Police and Capitol Police, were called out Wednesday by members of the Augusta Police Department participating in the fundraising phenomenon ALS ice bucket challenge.

“I’ve been called out a bunch of times by a lot of people,” said Chief Deputy Jared Mills of the Augusta Police.

Thousands of people, including television personalities and musicians, have over the last two weeks posted on Facebook videos of themselves dumping water over their heads and challenging others to do the same. Those who accept the challenge make a donation to an organization that fights amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and make a video of themselves pouring ice water over their heads and challenging three other people or agencies to do the same.

The videos are produced to raise awareness and money for ALS, a fatal nerve cell disease that slowly and steadily disrupts voluntary muscle movement. There is no cure for ALS, which affects about 12,200 people in the United States, at least 65 of whom live in Maine.

Nell Davies, a Maine-based care services coordinator for the Northern New England chapter of the ALS Association, said late July and early August donations have nearly doubled to $48,000 this year, up from $28,000 during the same period in 2013.

More than a dozen Augusta police and dispatchers, most of whom came in on their day off to participate, gathered Wednesday in the department parking lot to pour ice cubes into a bucket of water that they then dumped over their heads. A video of the stunt includes an explanation by Sgt. Christian Behr, who challenges members of the other agencies.

“We’re putting our challenge out to the local agencies of the Capitol Police Department, the Kennebec Sheriff’s department and Maine State Police Troop D,” Behr said. “You’re next.”

Donations were still being collected Wednesday afternoon. Detective Christopher Blodgett said the money will be given to the Northern New England chapter of the ALS Association.

The Augusta Police Department was called out Tuesday by police in Scituate, Mass. Detective Erik Steverman, who works for the department, is a cousin of Augusta Police administrative assistant Delores Steverman-Daoust.

“I’m sure that’s why we were called out by them,” Mills said.

Augusta police were supposed to accept the challenge as a group, but Mills and Chief Robert Gregoire had their own head dunking so that Gregoire could attend a prior engagement. Mills and Gregoire challenged Chief Joseph Massey and Deputy Chief Charles Rumsey of the Waterville Police Department.

“We have a really good relationship with the Waterville Police Department,” Mills said.

Videos of both challenges are posted on the department’s Facebook page.

Mills said he was hoping to accept the challenge on a warm, sunny day rather than a rainy cool day like Wednesday.

“It surprisingly wasn’t that bad,” he said. “Even with the rain it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4

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