On April 15, Officer Tony Whyte pulled a woman over in Castle Rock to issue her a warning for speeding. It didn't take her long to recognize him. “Are you the guy from the lip-sync video?” she …
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On April 15, Officer Tony Whyte pulled a woman over in Castle Rock to issue her a warning for speeding. It didn't take her long to recognize him.
“Are you the guy from the lip-sync video?” she asked.
When Whyte and his partner, patrol officer David Moorhead, participated in a lip-sync video the Castle Rock Police Department produced last year, neither expected the effect it would have on their jobs.
That included the way it would change their relationship with members of the public, and internally, with other employees at the police department.
“I think the coolest thing that happens is when we go out on patrol, it's a great ice-breaker,” Moorhead said, adding he's also been recognized from the video while on the job.
The video was part of a nationwide social-media challenge in which first responders from across the country created lip-sync videos and tasked other police, sheriff and EMT departments to make their own. Hundreds of agencies participated. Videos, many elaborate and meticulously directed, went viral.
Castle Rock estimated its video was viewed approximately 1 million times across all its social-media channels. The video was compiled from about six hours of footage and filmed and edited within about four days. It cost roughly $3,000 to make.
“When you think about the volume of exposure for our community and our police department, it's so far-reaching,” said Chief of Police Jack Cauley.
Now, there's a new CBS television show inspired by the challenge, called "Lip Sync to the Rescue." CBS selected 30 of those agencies' videos as contenders for the show.
Members of the public can vote for their favorites of the Top 30 online through this month, and vote as many times as they'd like. The Top 10 will then be revealed during the show, which airs later this year. The overall winner will be selected through a live vote from the top two finalists.
Castle Rock is one of only two Colorado communities named in the Top 30. The other, a video from the Larimer County Sheriff's Office, produced a more than five-minute video to “The Greatest Show” compete with real-life circus performers.
“To be chosen among 30 out of 630-plus videos that they reviewed, that's a pretty distinct honor,” said department spokesman Joe Cybert.
Members of the Castle Rock police department said being part of the CBS contest is exciting, but there wasn't a television show planned when they made the video.
Cybert is candid about the department's reason for joining the challenge. At a time when there was “negativity toward law enforcement in general,” he said, the video was an opportunity to help the public see law enforcement as approachable and human.
In total, Castle Rock's video included 31 members of the police department. Victims Assistance Coordinator Debbie Lewis said she appreciated the fact that it included employees from every unit, from patrol officers to commanders to dispatchers to those who help crime victims.
The near four-minute video is set to Miley Cyrus' hit “Party in the U.S.A.” with a special cameo from Cauley, who portrays Billy Ray Cyrus — '90s wig and all. The cast lip-syncs to Cyrus' lyrics at locations across town, putting a fog machine to use and incorporating department equipment as props.
Cauley said he'd expected the video to be of a Beach Boys song until a few minutes before they began filming. Officers approached him with a wig and an idea to use music from both Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus. He learned lyrics to “Achy Breaky Heart” in about five minutes, and as Detective Scott Webster said, showed residents their chief “has a sense of humor.”
“The beauty of that video is 90 percent of that is ad lib,” said Webster, one of the 31 staff members who participated.
Whyte, Moorhead, Webster, Lewis and Gorman said the video ended up being a bonding activity that brought officers closer to their command staff and chief. They hope it also helped the community grow closer to its police department.
“You should be able to trust your officers to protect you, right?” Whyte said. “So, showing this video, showing us in a different light, we hope … they can talk to us.”
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