DOVER — The follow-up video to a worldwide YouTube smash received nearly unanimous positive reviews on Facebook immediately after its release late Wednesday morning.
The second Dover Police Department-produced “DashCamConfessionals” featured two officers singing several songs while riding in a patrol car around Schutte Park, the same lighthearted approach that went viral beginning Jan. 17 when Cpl. Jeff Davis grooved to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”
The latest video lasted just under 5½ minutes and included 10 tunes performed by Cpl. Davis and new performing partner Cpl. Demetrius Stevenson.
Song No. 5 was “Trampolines” by Madi Wolf and the artist herself quickly touted its inclusion with a Facebook post on Dover Police’s page, saying
“Check out my lyric video for summer jam “Trampolines” here!”
Responded the Dover Police, “Thanks for letting us use your song!”
Ms. Wolf made another comment that went, “Such an honor to be featured on this video. Check out my new music video ‘Oceans’ here. SHARE!” The comment concluded with a red heart.
Just after noon Wednesday, Cpl. Mark Hoffman — the video’s creative originator along with Lt. Jason Pires — said the band Paramore, who sings the last song “Ain’t It Fun” tweeted the video to more than 2.9 million followers. The video, posted at 11 a.m., had more than 48,000 Facebook views in the first hour, Cpl. Hoffman said.
Dover Police introduced the video by saying, “After much anticipation, we are excited to release the follow-up to #dashcamdiva with the #dashcamduet edition of Dashcam Confessionals. We hope you enjoy!”
On Facebook, police acknowledged that it’s unlikely that the second production will match interest in the first “Shake It Off” rendition, which had 33.7 million views and counting as of early Wednesday afternoon.
The lone negative Facebook early review of “not as good as the 1st one,” drew this response from police:
“Dover Police Department probably will never hit that level of popularity again, but that’s not the goal.
“Our intentions are to engage the community we serve. If we reach outside of that, that’s wonderful, but at the end of the day-all that matters is that our citizens view us as approachable and friendly faces in times of need. We just have a unique way of doing it.”
Further engage citizens
Cpl. Hoffman said there’s been some public misconception of Dover Police’s goals for the follow-up.
“A lot of people are under the assumption that we are trying to meet or beat the popularity of the original video,” he said. “That is actually not the goal at all. The first video went viral because of the ‘shock value,’ nobody expected it.
“(If we) hit that level again ... we would welcome it, but at the end of the day, our goal is simply to further engage the citizens of Dover and surrounding areas. We chose the medley of songs because it has a broad appeal and we are really trying to target the youth demographic as well.”
Cpl. Hoffman said early public response was “great” and, “We’ve had a lot of song requests for a third video and a lot of positive feedback for this one.”
After seeing the video in a posted form, Cpl. Hoffman said he was “absolutely” happy on how the second one turned out.
“We decided to let the guys actually sing which adds another element of comedy to it, and to some, maybe a painful few minutes of listening to them,” Cpl. Hoffman said.
“While we wanted to continue the ‘Dashcam Confessionals,’ we wanted this one to be a little different, that is why we let them actually sing.”
Joining the show was Cpl. Stevenson, Dover High’s affable school resource officer that took part to help attract a 13- to 18-year-old demographic to Dover Police’s online and social media reach to the community.
“He was an excellent addition,” Cpl. Hoffman said. “Cpl. Stevenson, better known around here as ‘Meat,’ is a popular officer with the high school kids and in Dover in general.
“So adding him generates a lot of excitement because people now have two officers they can connect with.”
The production drew a thumbs up for its personal touch from Dover Police Chief Paul Bernat.
“The newly released video is a glimpse into what it’s like to really know a police officer, he said. “We are people too. We enjoy music and friendship just like everyone else.
“The video is a way to depict police officers as human beings.”
Worth the effort
There’s a big payoff for the video related to community engagement, the chief said, plus it’s fun to do and doesn’t take significant time away from crime fighting.
“The officers obviously enjoy making the videos and I believe that the connected community enjoys being entertained and seeing cops as normal people,” Chief Bernat said.
“The videos do not take more that an hour at the most to produce and if that will create having a bigger following to monitor our site, then I think it’s worth it’s weight in gold.”
It’s beneficial to have more site views, and social media continues to assist law enforcement in protecting and serving the populace, Chief Bernat said.
Folks linked to the sites for the video also will receive all other Dover Police information that’s sent.
“When people like our site, they receive our serious posts too,” Chief Bernat, who said he’s proud of Dover Police’s social media footprint.
“It has been proven time and time again that our Facebook site has solved numerous crimes. Whether it’s a credit card fraud case or a bank robbery, the DPD Facebook account has solved all sorts of crimes. It is a credit to our followers that they are interested and engaged in our City and want to help the police solve crimes.
“As the (police chief), I am very proud of our officers crime fighting efforts and creative thinking. However, we would not be as successful as we are without the community’s involvement ...”
The long-awaited release finally came after the public continued to wonder when that would happen.
“We have been getting hit with requests since the day after the original video, so I think many were looking forward to another,” Cpl. Hoffman said.
There were no specific factors that determined the timing of the release, police said.
“There was no strategy behind the date of release at all,” Cpl. Hoffman said. “It was just a matter of coming up with a good idea and finding time to create it.”
Regarding a possible third video and asked if Dover Police would stick with the same format of officers, songs, and a patrol car, or explore something else, Cpl. Hoffman responded with:
“You never know.”