The City of Delaware Police Department has already filled up both sessions for the upcoming second annual “Fish with a Cop” event.
Officer John Hartman said Tuesday that the DPD expanded the 2019 event to 150 participants, up from 100 last year, and it still filled up within a day of the registration period opening to the public.
There will be two sessions of the event — 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and noon to 3 p.m. — on Aug. 3 at Blue Limestone Park in Delaware.
Hartman and then fellow School Resource Officer Larry Lucas started the event last year as a way to introduce kids to fishing. Hartman said as a result of a Ohio Department of Natural Resources Grant, every kid who comes will get a free fishing rod.
“It’s really taken off,” Hartman said. “We were able to register 150 kids overnight. It’s a huge event that gets talked about all year long. People were upset they missed it and want to get their kids in. It’s been a huge success, and it’s a lot of fun to get the kids out. It’s something we look forward to and enjoy.”
Hartman said kids can get a lot out of spending a little time fishing.
“You get to be outside in nature, and it teaches patience,” Hartman said. “You get to watch a bobber and just be outside and not stressed out over social media stats. You can turn that off, come out here and have a great time.”
Hartman said this year, City of Delaware firefighters will also be on hand to teach kids how to fish and interact with the community.
Firefighter John Stuart said he’s not much of a fisherman anymore, he used to fish at Blue Limestone Park when he was growing up.
“Anytime we get to do something with the kids in the community it’s always fun,” Stuart said. “It’s always good to spend time with the police department, because we have their back and they have ours.”
Firefighter Terry Marks said he’s excited to have a chance to hang out with the community in a positive atmosphere.
“We usually see people during bad times, so it’s nice to get out with kids and families when it’s not an emergency,” Marks said.
Avery Dushane, 10, attended the event last year and said that she enjoyed the experience, even if she didn’t end up catching anything.
“I enjoyed learning how to fish!” Dushane said. She said she wants to learn more this year.
Avery’s mother, Kim, said Tuesday that she’s looking forward to her daughters attending the event again.
“It was their first real experience doing it,” Kim Dushane said. “It was a good experience and a good introduction to a hobby.”
Hartman said because the bulk of the event is funded through grants and donations, it’s a very cost-efficient program, and he’s not planning on bringing it to an end anytime soon.
“We’ve got no reason to stop,” Hartman said. “It continues to get more and more response. It’s a win-win for everybody. We get to be outside fishing with kids. What could be better?”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.