Newark Police officers and community members came together Friday for an evening of fishing.

The event, held at the ponds at Curtis Mill Park, kicked off the Newark Parks and Recreation Department’s series of first responder events throughout the year. The events are intended to unite police and residents in a fun, casual setting.

“I thought it would be an awesome opportunity to get the community and first responders together,” recreation supervisor Chrissy Holubinka said.

Several NPD officers spent the evening interacting with kids and their parents, helping bait hooks and engaging in conversation.

“It breaks down barriers in the community,” Sgt. Greg D’Elia said. “It gets them to see us as people and helps us get to know the people in the community.”

The next event will be National Night Out on Aug. 3. Main Street will be shut down, and attendees will have a chance to interact with police and firefighters, watch demonstrations and explore fire engines, police cruisers and other equipment.

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