BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ- On Saturday, the Berkeley Heights PBA Local #144 held a community “Youth Fishing Derby” at Horseshoe Pond for Berkeley Heights residents. 

The event was run by Berkeley Heights traffic safety officer and member of the PBA, Donato Minicozzi. He explained the importance of having police-sponsored events for the community in order for the police department to become more engaged and active within the community. He said the goal of the event is to “bring the community together. To show that the police department cares about the community and wants to come together with the kids and have a good time.”

While the PBA would have liked to have the event earlier in the year, Minicozzi said, “We usually have this event every April. Now we’re having it in September because we weren’t able to have it last April due to COVID-19.”

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Agreeing with Minicozzi, Berkeley Heights resident Kristy Schroeder said, “I’m glad they’re [the BH Police Department] reaching out to the town and the kids and I think it's a great way to get the kids involved with the police in town.”

Schroeder, who brought her two boys to the event, said they decided to attend the event to have “just a day with the kids.” She added,“My sons always wanted to fish and it's nice that the PBA does sponsor this, and we wanted to come for years and now he's finally of the right age to do it.”

For residents who may not know how to fish, the PBA said "no fishing experience was needed" for the young residents of Berkeley heights. PBA officers were “on hand” to help out anyone who needed assistance catching a fish. 

While following social distancing and mask guidelines, more community events such as the derby will be able to happen more frequently. As demonstrated in this event, the community is eager to engage in community events and start to build relations with police in the current social climate.

The PBA annual Trunk or Treat is currently scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 24 at 100 Connell Drive in Berkeley Heights. Trunk decorating begins at 11:30 a.m. Trunk or Treating begins at 12 noon. COVID-19 social distancing rules must be followed. 

Editor's Note: Aidan English is a junior at Gov. Livingston High School participating in the TAPinto Berkeley Heights internship program. Contact bpeer@tapinto.net for more information.