On Saturday, July 23 from 8:30-11 a.m., the Urbana Police Division provided its first-ever COPs & Bobbers program for area youth to participate in, along with a parent and Urbana police officers.
COPS & Bobbers was a group project involving members from the 2019-20 Leadership Champaign County program, which Urbana police sergeant Shawn Schmidt was a part of. Due to COVID-19 restrictions at the time, the COPs & Bobbers program was delayed until this year.
This year’s program was a rousing success, as we had 62 registrants and ended up with 47 youngsters showing up to participate. Sgt. Schmidt and School Resource Officer A.J. Ervin coordinated our program and oversaw the efforts from many Urbana police officers along with their wives, helping to make the day one to remember for our participating youngsters.
The fishing poles, tackle and bait were all paid for from funds we received from the Walter and Lewis Funeral Home’s 2022 First Responder Appreciation program and its Field of Flags Award, which selected the Urbana Police Division as the 2022 award recipient. Urbana FOP Lodge 93 provided snacks and refreshments.
The day began with officers providing the youngsters with practical instructions on fishing, including identifying fish, tying hooks, baiting hooks, and removing the hooks from the fish safely. The children then went to various learning stations where officers assisted them as they practiced their lessons and then practiced casting the fishing lines. The remaining time was spent with the children, parents and police officers enjoying time together fishing
To conclude the day, each participant was provided with their very own brand new fishing pole and light fishing tackle equipment to keep.
We are already looking forward to next year’s program.
Matthew Lingrell is the Urbana Police Division chief.