Gloucester police officers are helping introduce local youngsters to the joys of fishing under a new Kops-N-Kids fishing program that organizers also believe will generate positive experiences between kids and officers.

The fishing program, which sprung from a brain-storming session among officers in the Community Impact Unit, will kick off Monday with two separate fishing trips — 10 a.m. and noon — aboard the city's police boat. Other trips will follow throughout the summer, according to Lt. Jeremiah Nicastro, who heads the Community Impact Unit.

"We live on an island where fishing is deep in the roots of so many of our families," Nicastro said Tuesday. "We want our children to experience what it's like to fish and practice safe boating. But perhaps more importantly, it's a tool to provide the kids with another positive experience with police officers."

The program is open to children 5 and older who reside in Gloucester, up through high school age, Nicastro said. Preference will be given to who have never before experienced fishing or boating. The program will supply all gear and life jackets and officers will work side-by-side with kids, helping them with baiting hooks, casting, hooking and releasing their catch.

The experience, Nicastro said, will help instill the positive qualities of patience, ingenuity, preparedness and humility in the kids that participate. They also will learn about fishing conservation and boating safety.

"We're always looking for new ideas for outreach to our youth," he said. "This really was long overdue."

Interested participants can obtain and submit applications at the Community Impact Unit inside Browns Mall and at Three Lantern Marine & Fishing on Parker Street. They must also fill out and sign waivers.

"Once they sign up once, they're good for the whole summer," Nicastro said.

Nicastro said trips will be limited to three children and one parent per child may attend. The deadline for applying for the inaugural Monday trips is Thursday at noon. The three successful applicants will be chosen via random wheel on Facebook Live at noon on Friday. 

Trips, weather permitting, will last two hours each and take place weekly during the summer. Pickup and drop-off will be at the docks at Solomon Jacobs Landing off Harbor Loop, near the Gloucester Harbormaster's office.

"We'll be fishing from the Inner Harbor out to Ten Pound Island," Nicastro said. "The kids will also learn how a lobster trap works and each get the chance to haul one."

Nicastro credited Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and Chief Ed Conley for supporting the innovative program, and thanked Three Lantern Marine & Fishing, Nelson's on Main Street and the Bass Pro Shops in Foxborough for donating rods, reels and other fishing gear.

The lobster trap, he said, was donated by local lobsterman Dan Cary. The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries is supplying junior fishing log books and educational material.

Those requiring more information should call 978-325-5471 or email Nicastro at jnicastro@gloucester-ma-gov.

Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or shorgan@gloucestertimes.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT

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