‘Angling with officers’ program offers stress relief for police

AURORA, Colo. -- If you are going to be a professional at something, being a professional fisherman is a pretty good gig/

“I don’t know why, I couldn’t explain it to you and I can’t explain why I love fishing so much," said Jack Winters, professional walleye fisherman.

Winter loves his sport and the benefits that come with it.

"You’re out on the lake, everything is right in the world. There are no worries of anything," he said.

Winters figured the therapeutic benefits of spending a little time on the lake, with friends, might be good medicine.

He reached out to Bass Pro Shops and the Aurora Police Department. Together, they created the angling with officers program.

"It’s something he can bring to guys and take them out and let them escape for the afternoon, escape any other problems they might have, escape some stressors,” said officer Emily Hitchings with the Aurora Police Department Officer Wellness Unit.

Aurora  first responders are taken out on the lake for a five-hour guided fishing experience. Everything is provided at no cost to the officers or the city.

"I couldn’t do it in one day, and I couldn’t do it in a month," Winter said. "There are so many police officers in Aurora and so many firefighters and paramedics.”

For six months, Winters has been taking first responders out, seven days a week.

From post-traumatic stress disorder to personal issues, to no issues at all. All Aurora first responders are welcome.

Officer Tom Faustin wants to fish. The husband and father of two small children looks forward to a little downtime.

Time is precious to him. He’s been diagnosed with colon cancer, with a prognosis he would rather not discuss.

"I don’t think Jack will ever quite know the impact that he’s having," said Faustin.

Faustin is forced to think about the unthinkable: Saying goodbye to the ones he loves.

Spending a little time in the outdoors with the sun in his face and a couple of good laughs, goes a long way.

“You know you’re just out there and it’s peaceful and it’s quiet and it’s a really amazing opportunity to let go," he said.

If,  for a moment or two, Faustin can fish and just drift a little, then it really doesn’t matter if he catches anything.

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