Columbia County Sheriff's Office, St. Helens and Scappoose police departments take part in social media challenge

SCREENSHOT COURTESY OF ST. HELENS POLICE DEPARTMENT - A still shot from a lip-sync music video created by the St. Helens Police Department. Officers from SHPD filmed a video for a social media challenge sweeping across the country, called #LipSyncChallenge. Law enforcement agencies across the country have embraced a social media challenge to publish videos of officers, deputies and other emergency service and criminal justice professionals dancing and singing in their very own scripted music videos.

The challenge, promoted via #LipSyncChallenge, prompted the Columbia County Sheriff's Office and St. Helens and Scappoose police departments to jump in.

CCSO's Lt. Brian Pixley was one of the first to produce a video earlier this month. He explained that while no one directly challenged CCSO to create a video, he felt like it was something he could do to connect with the community in a fun way.

"We wanted to be the first one in the county, so we could put the challenge out to the rest of the county," Pixley said.

The two-minute video features Pixley solo in the front seat of his patrol car, singing.

"We're a big Disney family, and I thought it was appropriate to use 'You've Got a Friend in Me' from 'Toy Story,'" Pixley explained. "It's kind of about Woody, the deputy in the movie, and it kind of put another spin in it with 'You've Got a Friend in Me,' because people can put their trust in us."

Throughout the video, Pixley spliced in images of various encounters he's had in the community over the past eight months. His 17-year-old daughter helped with the editing, while his wife helped with the filming on a Sunday afternoon.

The St. Helens Police Department also took up the challenge and produced a five-minute rock video to Whitesnake's 1987 song, "Here I Go Again." With the help of a fog machine, strobe light, police cruiser, drum kit and electric guitars, the officers created a video with a much different vibe.

Officers Bryan Cutright and Jamin Coy led the charge.

"None of us are that good at dancing, and the easiest way out of that was an 80s rock video," Cutright joked.

The St. Helens squad entered the video into an online competition hosted by Texas-based security management company, Athos Group, to garner online views and votes. The Athos Group offered to donate $5,000 to a charity of the winning police department's choice through the video contest.

Although the St. Helens team didn't win, the video came in second with the most Facebook "likes" and has racked up more than a million views between the police department's post and one shared by KGW news in Portland.

"I think, for the most part, our police have a good relationship with the community, but there's always people who won't like us or don't think we're doing our job," Cutright noted. "But we're humans and we like to have fun and goof around too."

On Monday, the Scappoose Police Department published its #LipSyncChallenge video set to the tune of the Miley Cyrus' pop music hit, "Wrecking Ball." The Scappoose team took a more theatrical approach with a video that shows officers serving a warrant on a group of people at a house.

Officers Kolten Edwards and Matt Dorick wrote the main script and took suggestions from other officers about details to include. The entire video was filmed and edited on a Sunday afternoon.

"It was a blast and we had a lot of fun," said Scappoose Police Chief Norm Miller.

The video was filmed at an abandoned house, the police department, and at a house in Warren where the owners offered to allow SPD use a tire swing for one of the scenes, Miller noted.

From being recognized in the grocery store to receiving shout-outs on social media, Pixley and Miller said community members have provided positive feedback to the videos. Cutright said he was grateful and thankful to the community for its positive support and response.

"I think it's kind of a big push to humanize the badge. Like I said, to make people realize we're people just like they are, we just have a different job," Pixley said.

Miller also noted that having a variety of staff members participate in the challenge has promoted a sense of team-building within the agency and across the law enforcement field.

"We're actually all together, you know, working together and trading ideas and stuff like that. I think across the nation, it's brought cops together and showed people who we really are. We're funny too

and have a good time, Miller said."

The Columbia County law enforcement agencies also noted that filming and editing for the videos was completed voluntarily when officers were off duty.

Links to all of the videos are below.

St. Helens Police Department

Columbia County Sheriff's Office

Scappoose Police Department

Contract Publishing

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