Many versions of fans jamming to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it off” have been made.
But a Dover, Del., police dashboard camera that captured an officer bopping to the beat is not only funny, but is also the latest in a series of efforts to re-humanize police in the wake of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner deaths by police.
“While reviewing in-car cameras we tend to see some ‘interesting” things,” the video introduction reads. “We decided to share some of them with you in a new series called Dash Cam Confessionals.”
Actually, the video was planned by Delaware Police Department Public Affairs Officer Mark Hoffman involving Master Corporal Jeff Davis, who knew he was being filmed.
“We wanted to do something special for our local followers on Facebook after we hit 10,000 followers, so I put a GoPro on the dashboard and figured, what could be funnier than a 48-year-old fat guy jamming to Taylor Swift,” Mr. Hoffman says in a phone interview. “Jeff Davis is kind of the class clown of the force and I knew he’d be game to do it.”
As it turns out, Officer Davis has four children and his daughter Gabrielle, age 10, is a huge fan of Taylor Swift.
“I knew all the lyrics long before Mark asked me to do the video because my daughter loves Taylor Swift and 'Shake it Off'’s been playing non-stop in my house since it came out.”
The video took 45-minutes, two takes and very little editing according to Hoffman.
“I thought that maybe it would help a little to counter all the bad feelings people have had about police over the past four months,” Davis explains. “But I never, in my wildest’, ever, imagined it would become so popular that almost overnight we’re getting calls from people in Germany who loved the video.”
In the first 24 hours since posting, the video had more than 250,000 views.
In the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., the death of Eric Garner in a chokehold in New York City police, and other incidents, police department public affairs officers have had to work hard to address negative police stereotypes.
Before Christmas, stories began to flood the media about good deeds being done by law enforcement. On Facebook a popular new page “Good Deeds Done by Police” appeared.
The law enforcement industry publication “Behind the Badge” has been loaded with upbeat stories singing the praises of police-driven good deeds.
In Tarrant, Ala. Helen Johnson was caught stealing eggs to feed her family. However, instead of making an arrest, Tarrant Police Officer William Stacy bought her a dozen eggs. A bystander recorded the good deed on their cell phone. The video went viral.
In Lowell, Mich., police officers gave out holiday gifts instead of traffic tickets.
Asked if the department will be releasing another video soon Hoffman says, “I know that given this success we should just drop the mic and exit at the top of our game, but we will have more coming in another month or so.”
For his part Davis says that because his fame has happened so fast his daughter is currently unaware of how famous her father has become.
“My kids are used to me being a goofy, fun-loving guy so she won’t be surprised,” he says. “But if I know my Gabrielle, she’s going to be hoping Taylor Swift sends her concert tickets." And apparently this video shoot has been transformative for Davis: "Last time she went to a Taylor Swift concert I dropped her off. But next time, I think maybe I’ll stay and see the show.”