October 19, 2015 Omaha Police Department spent some time wisely and had some fun with about 200 local kids ages 5 to teenagers last weekend at an event along with fishermen both novice and experienced. They shared food, soft drinks and time together as they fished with people from Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
Game and Parks stocked the lagoon with 1,000 10-inch rainbow trout last week. Capt. Scott Gray of the northeast precinct said the sixth annual Cops and Bobbers event benefits officers as much as it does youngsters.“It’s a relaxed setting where we can have some fun with the kids,’’ he said. “It lets them see us in a different setting.’’ According to Omaha.com
The community got involved as well Scheels donated 300 Zebco 202 reels and rods to the youngsters, Hy-Vee and Rotella’s supplied the meal, and the Salvation Army served it up on the west side of the lagoon under sunny skies, temperatures in the mid-60s and 20 mph winds.
Lt. Jim Pauly of the northeast precinct said he has helped at the event for four years. “Different years we’ve had different kinds of luck,’’ said Pauly, who said that when the fish aren’t biting, officers get a chance to strike up conversations with the kids.
The event has been something that people have been looking forward to all year round now and about 300 people showed up for the event this year total.For at least one boy, Sunday was his first time with a rod and reel in his young hands.“Everything,’’ Cameron Miller, 8, said when asked what he likes about fishing. “I’m looking forward to all of it.’’
Another boy, Leo Andrews, 9, who recently moved to Omaha, said he was a veteran at catching fish, mainly in northwest Kansas.“I’ve been fishing a lot of times,” he said. “I’m just hoping for good luck today.’’
A number of the rainbow trout that had been raised at a Game and Parks facility in northeast Nebraska were ripe for the picking, said Greg Wagner of the parks commission, which supplied loaner gear and set up a cleaning station near the lagoon. “These fish are very catchable,’’ he said. “Our hope is to get these kids hooked on fishing.’’
Sgt. Matt Manhart was another officer in uniform who didn’t hesitate to donate his time. “I love it,’’ he said. “It’s just a great time.“How often can a guy say he got to work with some kids who’ve never been fishing before, and then get them hooked on fishing?’’ asked Manhart, who described himself as an outdoorsman.
Of course others attended, but knowing Officers as we do, it is the kids that draw their main attention. Mounted officers showed up as well as a helicopter from the Department made an appearance. While the helicopter may not have done much for keeping fish close it probably did attract quite a few of the children.