BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Brevard Sheriff Wayne Ivey is not one to back down from a challenge.
News 6 partner Florida Today reports that when the Brevard County Sheriff's Department was dared to participate in the trending #LipSyncChallenge, Ivey pulled out the big guns: His video team.
"IT'S FINALLY TIME BCSO ANSWERS THE LIP SYNC CHALLENGE," BCSO posted to its Facebook page Wednesday, followed by a video commentors described as "epic."
The video starts with a close-up of Ivey running with a K9 as the famous staccato strum of "Eye of the Tiger" begins. He's running, he's panting — Ivey, not the dog — but he makes it up the stairs of the Riverside Park amphitheater in Cocoa Village. He throws a fist up in celebration, runs in place, and the camera cuts to another deputy suiting up for the day.
The music continues and a team of deputies are marching through the amphitheater. The lip syncing begins when the camera cuts to a pair of deputies sitting in a patrol car. From there, numerous teams are featured in the video. Beach patrols, detectives, SWAT, marine units, corrections deputies and even the Chain Gang, a group of well-behaved inmates chosen to do manual labor for the county, are shown. Scenes are filmed on location along the beach, in the jail, in sheriff precincts, at Riverside Park, on a boat and in patrol cars.
It concludes with credits and a freestyle dance in the amphitheater and, of course, jazz hands.
Ivey said the department "was bombarded" with people who wanted BCSO to take part in the challenge, so it responded. The making of the video was filmed at no added cost, said Ivey, plus, it was a fun way to connect with the community.
"It’s not only great camaraderie building within the agency, it’s a chance to showcase some of the people and what the agency does," said Ivey, noting why he opted to include multiple departments. "It’s a chance to personalize the agency to the community and have fun doing it."
He also said it can be used as a recruitment tool to show the various operations within the department for those who may be interested in a career in law enforcement. The chain gang was willing to participate, he said, and were included because they are "part of the agency's persona" and "deserved to have some fun, too" as they pay back their debt to society. Sheriff Ivey's chain gang is the only chain gang in the state.
Fast forward and the video is going bonkers on Facebook. It accumulated more than 5,800 likes, 7,600 shares and 182,000 views within a day, and those numbers are still growing.
BCSO joins many other police units across the country that are answering the Lip Sync Challenge. The battle is said to have started with two Texas police departments. According to a report from The Star-Telegram in Texas, the Fort Worth Police Department filmed a lip sync video of the Alanis Morissette song "Ironic" just before the July 4 holiday. It was answered by the Grapevine Police Department, which took the video as a challenge and made their own. Both garnered millions of views on social media.
Since then, the challenge has spread to police and sheriff departments across the country, with many daring a neighboring department to participate. Search the hashtag #lipsyncchallenge or #lipsyncbattle and hundreds of results come up.
Among the most popular is the Norfolk Police Department in Virginia. Its rendition of Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk" has accumulated more than 38 million views on Facebook.
Hillsborough Police Department's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" has almost 4 million views, the Hurst, Texas police have almost 3 million views on its "Can't Stop This Feeling" video and the Tom Green County Sheriff’s Office in Texas has 1.7 million on its performance of "Bohemian Rhapsody."
Another organization, K9sforCops.org, jumped on the bandwagon with a different approach, racking up 7.4 million views with the religious song "I can only imagine." The group has used the popularity of the video to raise money as well.
As for Brevard, the video has been well-received. Many praised the department for the fun video, some remarking on the cinematography and inclusiveness of the organization. However, the most popular comments were those about the attractiveness of the motorcycle cop.
"Don't tell my husband, but I'm going to try to get pulled over by a motorcycle cop tomorrow..." wrote Jackie Kappes. The comment has more than 300 likes.
Ivey said the department has been harassing motor deputy Erik Botsford ever since. He's part of the Canaveral precinct.
Ivey, on the other hand was disappointed no one thought he looked like Sylvester Stallone.
"It’s kind of hurtful," he joked.
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