badges and bobbers event

A law enforcement officer works with special needs people who attended the Badges and Bobbers event Thursday at Old Fort Ponds near Maeser.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources hosted their first Badges and Bobbers, event at the recently-opened Old Fort Ponds on June 6.

The event was conceived as an opportunity for the law enforcement community to mix with special needs people from the Uinta Basin.

There was a large turnout at the event Thursday, with several agencies across the Uinta Basin sending members to participate. Attendees were able to fish with the help of law enforcement officers and enjoy pizza from Four Brothers.

Sergeant Bryan Clyde and Valarie Fiorelli, with UDWR, were the main organizers of the event.

Other places in the state have done events like this before,” Clyde said. “We’ve never really had an opportunity or a real good place to host an event like this so when these ponds were being built the idea was in my mind.”

All those who attended had a wonderful experience meeting and fishing with local law enforcement officers. And many people from the special needs community were able to catch fish from the recently-stocked ponds.

We were mostly trying to target the special needs kids or those that don’t have the opportunity to get out and fish, to participate in the angling experience, so we tried to get them an opportunity to get out and fish,” said Clyde. “We’ve got a lot more turned out today than I anticipated, but it's going really smoothly. Everybody’s having a good time. A couple of fish were even caught.”

Beyond the enjoyment of the many participants, Clyde shared another hope for the event.

I’m hoping that they realize that as law enforcement we are out to have a good time. We want them to experience the outdoors and just to come up and don’t have any fear when it comes to law enforcement. We’re here to help you out so we want these kids to feel comfortable around law enforcement.”

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