Ready for your close-up, officer?
Have you ever wanted to know exactly how police dogs practice chasing down suspects? Or exactly what gear police officers carry in their cars?
If so, you might want to check out LOPD TV, the Lake Oswego Police Department's new YouTube channel, at tinyurl.com/LOPDVideos.
The department launched the channel last month with the goal of finding new ways to engage with residents and answer some of the questions officers often receive while out in the field — and to get a few laughs in the process.
"Often, especially in police work, the most interaction we have with the public is generally on calls for service or enforcement actions," says LOPD Sgt. Clayton Simon. "And while I think we do a great job of working with the citizens in that regard, I felt like we could probably do a little bit more and maybe make something on a creative scale that would allow us to interact in a different medium with individuals, to provide an opportunity for access that not everybody gets."
Simon is front and center in most of the videos, serving as the unofficial host and producer of the project. The videos are often edited in a rapid, frenetic style with frequent sound effects, movie clips and jump cuts — a style that Simon says is inspired by some of YouTube's more well-known vloggers.
"Sometimes the videos will be a little more serious and sometimes they'll be a little more goofy," he says. "It just depends on what we're trying to convey."
For a goofier example, check out the video about police dog training, in which Simon himself serves as K-9 Chase's practice target.
"The first one was about the dog because everyone loves the dog," he says.
Subsequent videos have focused on officer gear and the dangers of distracted driving (with Simon actually pulling himself over for talking on a cellphone). Simon says his goal is to produce a new video every two or three weeks, and to let LOPD TV grow and evolve over time.
Some of the videos will be about topics the LOPD wants to promote, he says, but a large number of the videos will be responses to specific questions from residents — and hopefully the videos will lead to further questions.
"We don't really know how it's going to pan out," Simon says. "Hopefully some people enjoy it and it allows us to open up a dialog with people in what seems to be a comfortable medium."
In the meantime, Simon says he's working on getting more of the department's officers and staff involved in the videos. He's been working with other officers to decide the topics and content of the videos, although not everyone has been eager to become a YouTube star.
Still, he says, the first round of videos has helped get more of the department on board, so viewers can expect to see more familiar faces on the channel in future weeks.