Cops & Bobbers
Check back for our next Cops & Bobbers event.
The Apopka Police Cops & Bobbers annual fishing event was created a few years ago. Our vision was to get children outdoors and away from the televisions, video games, and cell phones. We want to help teach them about wildlife and how to be anglers. Our goal is not only to educate the children about the outdoors but to help bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community. Our Officers volunteer for this program and are not ordered to participate, nor do they receive compensation. Those Officers who volunteer do so as they want to teach our youth by mentoring and building a connection and trust.
Children are selected through local schools and organizations within our community. We seek children that are underprivileged and may not have a good role model at home. The idea of this event is to recruit those who have never fished before, but would like to learn how. The ages of the children selected go from elementary through middle school.
The Apopka Police Cops & Bobbers event has been held next to one of Apopka’s famous natural springs, Kelly Park/Rock Springs State Park. This natural spring produces millions of gallons of water a day, along with Wekiva Springs, which is only a few miles down the road. Our agency was lucky enough to partner with the Loomis Family who owns Kings Landing, which is a canoe, kayak, and paddle board rental business. Customers of Kings Landing can coast down the river for a few hours and eventually end their trip at Wekiva Springs Sate Park or Wekiva Island.
The Kings Landing site has numerous spots where we are permitted to take the children fishing. The Loomis family helps feed the fish by stocking fish feeders that are strategically placed in the water and turns on every morning at the same time. A day or two prior to the event, the feeders are turned off in order to have the fish extremely hungry for the day of the event.
Each child selected is paired up with a Police Officer prior to the event. The fishing rods and reels are pre-rigged and ready to change hooks based on the types of target fish. All of the Officers have a fish identifier chart and an area to write down the types of fish caught and their weight. Upon completion of the program, the child who catches the largest fish (by weight), most quantity of fish, or the most variety of fish, wins prizes. The winners of each category receive an upgraded rod and reel, larger tackle box, bait buckets, and more gear. All of the children who participate in this event, get to keep their rods and reels, smaller tackle boxes, and gear, regardless of whether they win the contests. Our hope is that they will use their new fishing equipment and their newly acquired angling skills during the summer breaks.
Sponsors are selected through local businesses and through grants. Many local businesses who donate for other events, such as our "Apopka Shop With a Cop" program, heard about our fishing event for kids and jumped on board. Some donate food and drinks, while others donate money to help purchase the fishing rods and reels, tackle boxes, artificial lures, hooks, etc. Grants are received through large corporations like Bass-Pro Shops and Cabela’s. These corporations generally help supply the gear for the program as well. All sponsors are recognized through our social media outlets, local media, flyers, and banners.