Sunday's gusty winds and overcast skies didn't stop more than 70 children from attending the Omaha Police Department's fourth annual Cops and Bobbers event.
The fishing excursion at Benson Park is an effort by the police to reach out to children and families in the northeast precinct.
“It's been pretty popular, so we've kept it going,” said Capt. Scott Gray of the northeast precinct.
November doesn't sound like a prime fishing month, but Gray said the scheduling is intentional. Employees from the Police Department and Nebraska Game and Parks Department release rainbow trout, which thrive in colder temperatures, into the park lagoon.
Theola Cooper, a neighborhood crime-prevention specialist, said the event represents an effort by the Police Department to build better, positive relationships in the community.
Gray said the day is a chance for the police officers and children to get acquainted.
“These kids get to see that we're people just like them,” he said.
Officers and participants, who ranged in age from 8 to 15, were divided into small groups named for various fish — walleye, rock bass, etc. — and supplied with fishing poles and worms.
Employees from Cabela's assisted in baiting hooks, casting fishing lines and removing the catch.
Mickayla Zellner and her 9-year-old son, Doneral Reed III, enjoyed last year's event so much that they returned Sunday.
Zellner said she eagerly awaited the email notifying her of Cops and Bobbers.
“I was looking for it,” she said.
Children went home with the fishing rods, so they can keep fishing and continue to practice what they learned.
Doneral made good use of the fishing rod he received last year to prepare for this year's outing, his mother said.
“When we got home, he kept playing with it. He was fishing for his socks!” she said.
Zellner cheered as Doneral caught the first fish of the day Sunday, proving that fishing for socks paid off.
Cabela's employees offered to clean the fish so Zellner and Doneral could take it home.