By now you have surely seen the “Lip Sync” Challenge that police departments across the country are doing. We’ve been here before. From the Ice Bucket Challenge to the Dance Challenge to a number of other ones and in the viral world of the world wide web, this latest craze may be the biggest.
And I don’t like it.
Get your sticky fingers ready to send me some hate mail because I know those are fighting words.
My wife looked at me perplexed a few nights ago when I saw the 20th or so battle going down from yet another agency and she asked me why I didn’t like it. I asked her this question in response to her usual confusion towards me:
“Would you ever see hundreds of doctors, lawyers or accountants challenging each other to a lip sync battle?”
Of course her answer was “no” which I then said “because it would be stupid.”
We see those professions as…..are you ready for it…..as “professions” with “professionals” and being the dancing bear just isn’t what professionals do.
Now don’t get me wrong. I understand the importance of humanizing the badge and being vulnerable to our public so they know we are real people but I’m just not sure becoming viral is the way to do it.
I know it’s fun but that is just about all it is.
It is not community policing or community outreach or much of anything but just fun.
So if you are still reading and you didn’t shut down your computer to talk crazy stuff about the old guy on Law Officer, I challenge you with this. Have your fun, do your challenge but also be committed to the real work of reaching our community. Having fun is ok as long as the real work is being done.
I thought I could be the only person to believe this and I was just about feeling guilty about being the “no fun” guy until I read what Abilene (TX) Police Chief Stan Standridge wrote to his community:
I hope all of you are well. Over the weekend, I received countless tags via social media, asking the Police Department to participate in the lip-sync contest that many other departments have taken part in. I greatly value their contribution to community engagement, but I do not believe your department has enough discretionary time to accomplish this task. We are currently investigating three homicides, in addition to countless other serious crimes that continue to come in every day. If we say yes to lip-sync’ing, then we say no to more pressing matters. Lastly, I am hugely competitive, so I would end up allocating a ton of people and resources to accomplish a quality video that would smoke all others! Our citizens deserve quality crime responses and investigations, so we will focus our efforts there, in addition to: giving a record amount of life-giving blood last month; an annual Blue Santa that has no rival in this State; members of the Alliance to End Domestic Violence; Citizens Police Academy; University internships; Safe Trading Zone; 1-Kingdom membership; partnership with Connecting Caring Communities; and a host of other activities wherein we hope to engage our citizens. Singing, then, will have to wait for the shower! Chief Standridge (Courtesy Abilene Facebook).
Well there you have it and that is basically my point. Chief Standridge is doing real and meaningful work and it’s hard and it is time consuming and it will make a difference and for every leader doing that, whether you endorse the dancing bear or not, I say keep doing it.
Travis Yates is a writer and editor at Law Officer. An ILEETA Trainer of the Year, his Seminars in Risk Management & Officer Safety have been taught across the United States & Canada. Major Yates is a current Doctoral Student in Strategic Leadership and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He is the Director of Training for Law Officer (www.lawofficer.com) and the Founder of the Courageous Leadership Institute (www.stopcowards.com), providing leadership consulting and training to law enforcement around the world.