DOVER — Remember Cpl. Jeff Davis and his lip-sync version of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” song that went viral on YouTube last winter and brought worldwide attention to the Dover Police Department?
Yeah, that one.
Well, the follow-up to that smashing success is scheduled for release sometime this week — likely Tuesday or Wednesday.
Taking time off from crime fighting Friday morning, four officers teamed up at Schutte Park to produce a “Dash Cam Confessionals” video that’s following quite an act; The first installment of a three-part series posted on Jan. 17 and had 33 million views and counting at mid-week.
There’s more to love in the new version, since Cpl. Demetrius Stevenson hopped into the patrol car with Cpl. Davis this time, and 10 songs were part of the script.Dover Police Department public information officer Cpl. Mark Hoffman, right, goes over the “script” with newcomer to the viral video world Cpl. Demetrius Stevenson, school resource officer at Dover High School, and how his life will soon be changing due to the massive media exposure soon to be coming his way. (Delaware State News photo by Dave Chambers)[/caption]
Divulging more info might spoil the surprise before the unveiling on Dover Police’s YouTube channel and Facebook page, along with clips shared via Twitter and Instagram.
On an overcast day, Cpl. Stevenson joined the fun; His effusive persona and connection to a younger demographic as school resource officer at Dover High made him a natural addition. City police want to engage 13- to 18-year-olds more, and Cpl. Stevenson is known for never meeting a stranger.
“I’m just going to let my personality come out and follow Jeff’s lead,” Cpl. Stevenson said beforehand.
The creative team — Lt. Jason Pires and Cpl. Mark Hoffman — spent hours, weeks and months trading ideas to find the right mix of content to make the second “Dash Cam Confessionals.”
Just like the first undertaking, the officers sought to create something to draw the public’s interest, acquainting it with the local police force and open a dialogue with the community that goes both ways.
“It was a long, hard process,” Lt. Pires said. “We would call each other at odd hours of the night if a good idea or vision popped into our heads.”
Three previously scheduled production dates were postponed due to a combination of rain and other commitments the cast had. Rain threatened on Friday, but the show finally went on.
The second video took about 25 to 30 minutes to capture; Cpl. Davis wheeled his patrol car safely through a quiet Schutte Park and Cpl. Stevenson took the passenger’s seat. Three takes from the two dashboard cameras were needed, with the last one apparently the best.
“Officer Stevenson was a little nervous the first take, but Officer Davis loosened him right up by takes two and three,” Cpl. Hoffman said.
Still an impact
The “Shake It Off” video has taken on a life of its own, and still impacts Dover Police and the city it serves and protects in many ways. Cpl. Davis has moved to the Community Policing Unit, and made regular appearances at local schools and fund-raisers for noble causes and various community outreach.
“It was an awesome experience at the time and continues to be,” said Cpl. Davis, who has conversed with actress Jennifer Aniston, talk show host Carson Daly, Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson and the Fall Out Boy rock band.
The best may be yet to come, since Cpl. Davis, his wife, daughter and her friends will attend Ms. Swift’s June 12 concert in Philadelphia, with a backstage meeting arranged.
Also, Dover Police located what Cpl. Hoffman described as a “very special family” and will present it with four tickets to the concert.
Calls from international sources wanting to know more still arrive, Cpl. Hoffman said. A Japanese television show called Dover Police last week regarding coverage of the “Shake It Off” video.
Ms. Swift’s United Kingdom label Virgin EMI Records used a quick clip of the video in a commercial for her latest album, and donated $3,000 to Dover Police’s Public Affairs department for continued community outreach and social media.
Dover Police’s Facebook page following increased from 10,000 to more than 25,000 during the past four months, expanding its reach to the community and “it has helped fulfill our goal of humanizing our officers and improving the relations with our community as a result,” Cpl. Hoffman said.
Living a life of sudden celebrity, Cpl. Davis said he is often recognized on and off duty. Earlier this week, girls behind the counter of a Middletown ice cream shop spotted him and asked for a picture with him; that same day, he was approached by another fan at a nearby dog park.
Recognition reaches past the First State. While he was in New York City making the television morning show circuit, a legion of paparazzi snapped pictures when he exited a building.
“I’ve never been the type of guy looking for fame or attention, but it is still fun to be recognized,” Cpl. Davis said.
There’s no pressure to create something to match or even remotely resemble the first video’s impact, Cpl. Hoffman said; Lt. Pires said he thought the “Shake It Off” version might get 2,000 views, and Cpl. Hoffman said it would have been a thrill to reach 10,000 to 30,000 community members.
“This next video and any production we create from here on is not made with the goal of topping or repeating the popularity of the first video,” Cpl. Hoffman said. “It is important that we keep our focus on the people that see us and work with us on a daily basis right here in Dover.
“If a future production goes international again, that is great, but at the end of the day the only thing that matters is what the citizens of Dover and surrounding areas think of us and that will continue to be our focus no matter what level of popularity we reach.”