Fish with a Cop

By: Officer Rawn Toler

On May 12th at Wheeler Park the Lamar Police Department held its annual Fish-with-a-Cop day. Each year the Lamar Police Department, partnering with the Missouri Department of Conservation, takes the entire Lamar 6th grade class fishing. We divide the class in half, taking one group in the morning and the other in the afternoon with lunch in between. The Conservation Department stocks the pond with catfish and bluegill each year prior to this event so that the odds of “catching something” are a little better. With close to fifty kids in each group they kept us busy.

We assist the kids with untangling lines, removing fish, and baiting hooks. Each year we have a few kids who have never fished before, so we teach them the fundamentals of fishing so when they leave they are able to fish on their own. The kids are fed a lunch that is cooked by the Missouri Department of Conservation Officers. The meal consists of deep fried catfish and fried potatoes.

Before each group left for the day we had a drawing for a new fishing rod and reel along with a tackle box donated. There was also a prize tackle box for the biggest fish in each group. This year Group A’s biggest fish was 13.5 inches and Group B’s was 9.5 inches. The weather was great and made for a wonderful day of fishing. With this program we are trying to develop a continuing relationship between the students and the law enforcement officers. We are with them during the 5th grade with the D.A.R.E. program and these programs and events keep us in contact with the students and promote a good, healthy relationship, as well as a fun time.

We are glad to have members from the Barton County Ambulance District and the Barton County Sheriff’s Department on hand to assist us. We are fortunate again this year to have received donations from two local businesses and one private club; Walmart, Cash Saver, and the Elks Club, to make this event possible. I would again like to say thank you to all who helped with the program. We look forward to this event every year.