Huntington Beach : Youngsters Go Fishing Courtesy of Drug Loot

Nearly 100 local students ranging from 8 to 14 spent a day this week fishing the waters off Long Beach with Huntington Beach police officers on a trip paid for with money seized from drug sales.

Members of the Huntington Beach Police Officers Assn. said the all-day outing Monday was designed to "solidify" the students' positive attitude about police officers and demonstrate how bad money can be spent for good things.

The 12-hour day was videotaped--complete with "kids out there screaming 'Just say no to drugs!' "--and may be shown on the local-access channel, Police Sgt. Jeff Cope said.

Eighteen officers spent 12 hours with the 97 youths, who had graduated from DARE (Drug Awareness Resistance Education) programs at Huntington Beach schools. The group caught about 500 fish off the Annie B. barge 1 1/2 miles offshore, Cope said.

The day began at 6 a.m. when the students were bused to San Pedro. From there, they went by boat to the fishing barge, where they spent the rest of the day fishing and lolling.

Organizers had budgeted $6,000 for the outing--$5,000 of it from drug assets that the Police Department has seized and $1,000 from the officers' union. But even with the cost of lunches and soft drinks and transportation, Cope said, the outing cost less than planned.

"Hard to say who had more fun--the kids or the cops," he added.

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