Behind the Badge: ‘Hooked on Fishing’ helps Columbus police build relationships with youth

COLUMBUS, Ind. – Columbus police officers are taking a different approach to building relationships with the younger generation.

On Thursday, a group of officers and roughly 20 kids ages 11 to 15 spent the day fishing, and paddle boating; an experience nicknamed “Hooked on Fishing” by the officers.

“Often times we only get to show up when there’s a problem, and this allows us the opportunity to be there when there isn’t a problem. We get to have fun!” said officer Julie Quesenbery.

Quesenbery is a school resource officer and spearheaded the idea. For a number of the kids, it was the first time they had been fishing, or in a boat.

“I was shocked, because I thought they would all be at work saving Columbus. But they’re here teaching us something new,” 11-year-old Jesoni Mitchell said.

Quesenbery said the point of the experience was to help the kids see the officers in a different light. She added that Columbus police want to build lasting relationships with the younger generation, and the best way to achieve that is by getting them to see officers as friends and resources, and not just an officer.

“We’ll see them in schools, but these other officers will see them in the community, and they’ve already met us. And if they haven’t met us, if they haven’t met some of the other officers, they’ll feel like they have,” she said.

"Hooked on Fishing" went so well Quesenbery says there are now plans for future fishing trips.

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