By Marc Venema
Cops and kids will be casting lines for the big one in Belleville on Saturday.
Children under the age of 12 are encouraged by Belleville police officers to throw some casts at the annual Kids, Cops and Canadian Tire Fishing Derby at Victoria Park.
“Kids are asked to bring their own gear,” said Joanne Pellegrino, an organizer of the Kids and Cops program. “If they don’t have it, there’s probably about 50 of our rods there that they can borrow.”
The event runs at Victoria Park from 9 a.m. until noon. There are contests, games, prizes, giveaways and a barbeque lunch. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
The program was started in 2003 by professional Canadian angler and host of Bob Izumi’s Real Fishing Show, Bob Izumi, to encourage kids to experience the thrills of fishing.
Pellegrino said not only does this program promote new relationships, but gets kids out of the house.
“The aim of the program is to A) get kids out fishing and B) have an opportunity to interact with police officers in a really positive environment,” Pellegrino said.
“We are finding these day a lot of kids spend too much time indoors on there computers, TVs or whatever and they just aren’t getting out side and fishing can be a relatively inexpensive sport and it’s a great family activity.”
Pellegrino said she expects a high number of officers helping the young anglers at Saturday’s event since Belleville police constable Patrick Comeau organizes it.
“There’s a ton of officers going to this Belleville event because it’s strictly organized by an officer,” Pellegrino said. “So he has a huge following of guys that come out every year and help them.
“He’s expecting about 240 kids this year.”