Building bridges from a bridge, one hook at a time

- If life was as easy as fishing, the world could be a better place.  But since it's not, Bradenton Crime Prevention Officer Scottie Camacho and other law enforcement officers from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, Palmetto Police Department, and Bradenton Police Department are working to make a difference with the area's kids.

They are a part of Manatee County's 'Bridging the Gap' program.  It is a group made up of law enforcement officers and community members that work to bring everyone together.

Today, it is needed more than ever.

"We want to build that relationship," Camacho continued.  "Relationships are super important. Without those kinds of relationships, things fall apart."

Officers hope their one day spent casting lines with the kids will go far.

"That carries on out to the streets. If I see them and I am in that area I can say hi. He knows who I am. It's not some stranger walking up," she said.

As fish are caught and new hooks are baited, a bond begins to form between the officers and kids.

"I do appreciate it a lot. My grandfather was a police officer too," said 15-year-old Jacquez Clemons.

Machari Johnson agreed.  "I think it's helping the community out and taking us to places and showing us that they care."

Officers will be there for the kids when they need them.

"Kids don't just see the uniform and the badge associate law enforcement with them getting in trouble. We want them to see law enforcement as people kind of develop that personal relationship," added Palmetto Police Chief Scott Tyler.

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