Positive relationships built while kids Fish With A Cop

Shawn Hardy news@echo-pilot.com
Magisterial District Judge Duane Cunningham baits a line for Brookelyn Morrow, 10, of Fayetteville at Fish With A Cop Saturday at the Greencastle Sportsman's Club. SHAWN HARDY/ECHO PILOT

About 40 kids from across Franklin County answered a casting call from local law enforcement Saturday.

The youngsters joined representatives of Pennsylvania State Police, the Greencastle, Waynesboro, Washington Township and Chambersburg police departments and the Pennsylvania Game Commission beside the lake at the Greencastle Sportsman's Club for the second annual Fish With A Cop. Greencastle Magisterial District Judge Duane Cunningham also was on hand to add a Fish With A Judge twist to the day.

State Police Trooper Angel Garcia organized the event with assistance from Jim Bradley, a Greencastle police officer.

The goal is to build relationships with youth in the community and make memories so participants see police officers in a different light and create lasting positive relations, Garcia explained.

Washington Township Officer Terry DeWitt said there have been struggles between the public and police for a number of years and he is eager to work with young people and build bridges. He noted his department also has a Shop With A Cop program.

"I love interacting with kids," said Waynesboro Officer William Sublett, an avid fisherman. "We're human, just like them, we just do a different job."

Austin Bolden, 14, of Greencastle has been fishing since he was 7. He said he heard about Fish With A Cop from Officer Bradley and thought it would be fun.

Jaylynn Lewis, 9, of Waynesboro also thought it would be fun and her mom told her there would be a bunch of prizes.

"I like the experience of Fish With A Cop, learning about cops and that people don't need to be afraid of them," said Brookelyn Morrow, 10, of Fayetteville.

"I like to fish and I thought it would be fun,"said Caleb Fritz, 12, of Greencastle.

Before getting down to the business of fishing, the kids were grouped with officers who shared information about their jobs and equipment.

Owen Smith, 9, of Shippensburg was eager to be handcuffed by Chambersburg Officer Ryan Shockey.

"At every event, the kids love the handcuffs and the cars," Shockey said.

The kids also liked fishing in the lake, which the sportsman's association stocked with catfish, crappies and bluegills just for the event.

"We like kids getting involved because we want them to become sportsmen," said Rick Traver, vice president of the association, adding the group also does a lot with scouts, sports and fundraisers for people with cancer.

Greencastle Police Chief John Phillippy thanked the sportsman's club, calling it an outstanding organization and saying the Greencastle-Antrim community should be grateful to have such an organization.

The sportsman's association provided a tackle box for each child, which the organizing committee filled with fishing supplies.

The day also included pizza, subs, drinks, snacks, apples and other treats, as well as prizes. In addition to the law enforcement agencies and the sportsman's club, sponsors included the Greencastle American Legion, Mikie's Ice Cream, Tony's Pizza, NAPA Auto Parts, Lumber Direct, Danco, Subway, Antrim Way Honda, Sheetz at Grindstone Hill Road, Carl's Drug Store and Greencastle Beverage.