Badges and Bobbers — a WPD fishing event for kids, cops

Badges and Bobbers — a WPD fishing event for kids, cops

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As the summer winds down and schools begin anew, there’s a new Saturday morning event for kids, their adults and anyone who enjoys a morning of local fishing.

Take one local park with a pond well stocked with a variety of fish; add one local resident who loves to fish, enjoys being outdoors, works with kids in the community and wants to help connect members of the Wooster Police Department with area youth; mix these together with a lot of hard work, dedication, donations and attention to detail; and you’ve got Badges and Bobbers.

Badges and Bobbers Fishing Derby will take place Saturday, Sept. 17 from 9 a.m. to noon at Freedlander Park in Wooster. Everyone is welcome at the event; however, the derby will be limited to youth age 15 and younger who are accompanied by an adult. The event will be catch and release.

Patrolman Joshua Timko is the school resource officer at Edgewood Middle School in Wooster. He’s an avid fisherman who loves the outdoors and enjoys working with kids and the community. Badges and Bobbers is his brainchild.

“I grew up fishing,” said Timko, who now takes his three daughters on fishing expeditions. “The things kids remember are the family outings — the time you spend with them.”

Timko is hoping this event becomes a regular addition to Wooster summers. “Fishing is a great bonding tool,” he said. “It’s a special experience — quiet and full of camaraderie. There’s no TV or computer or phone.”

Fishing together provides kids an opportunity to get to know officers and vice versa.

“Some of my greatest memories growing up,” Timko said, “are being in the outdoors and fishing with friends and family.”

The Wooster Police Department is where Timko had always wanted to work. He has been with the department 20 years and loves the community. His wife and her family are Wayne County natives. “I care so much about the community where I live and work and raise my family,” he said.

Freedlander Park in Wooster is the perfect setting for the event. It’s right in town, and the pond is well stocked for the catch and release event. “There’s bass, catfish, bluegill, trout and crappie,” Timko said.

Timko got the idea for the fishing event by researching what sort of events other departments are doing in their communities. He is hopeful this new addition to the Wooster summer will be just one of many other new endeavors that give the community and local police officers more opportunities to get to know each other.

At the event Ohio Department of Natural Resources officers also will be on hand to assist, teach and answer questions regarding fishing and hunting rules and regulations.

If participants do not have fishing gear, it will be provided. There will be drawings for fishing and camping gear. Timko is hopeful some kids who’ve never experienced fishing will be hooked on a new hobby by derby’s end.

Badges and Bobbers will take place rain or shine. Participants are reminded to dress for the weather.

Find the Wooster Police Department online at and on Facebook. Find the ODNR at

For Badges and Bobbers, “officers will work side by side with kids, helping them bait, cast, hook and release fish, all while bonding and learning that they are not so different from each other after all,” Timko said. “Fishing teaches patience, ingenuity, preparation and humility.”

No advance registration is required for the event. Participants will sign up onsite before fishing and may arrive as early as 8 a.m.

“Show up early,” Timko said. “The sooner you arrive, the sooner you can start fishing and have fun.”