Polk kids get outside, bond with deputies during 'Fishin' with Sheriff' event

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Nearly five dozen kids from all over Polk County put down their phones and pressed 'pause' on their gaming consoles on Friday and instead picked up fishing poles. 

During an annual 'Fishin' With Sheriff Judd' event on a lake next to the Polk County Sherriff's operation center in Winter Haven, deputies helped 55 kids with bait and tackle, teaching some of them how to catch and release fish for the first time in their lives. 

Each of the children was hand-picked by deputies from communities across the county. 

"A lot of them have never been fishing before," Sheriff Grady Judd said in a news release, "and the only exposure they may have experienced with law enforcement might have been through TV or the internet." 

The sheriff went on to say that the fishing activities will instill in the children an appreciation for nature and going outside. 

The event is a joint project between the Polk County Sheriff's Office, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Polk Sheriff's Charities, Inc.