A little humor goes a long way, and Victoria Police officers are delivering some public service announcements with their funny bones.
While scrolling through my news feed on Facebook last week, I saw that the police department posted a video. It was titled Weather Update, and to be honest, I almost didn't click on it. But something about the officer in the frame pointing his finger toward me – just looking like he had something important to say – drew me in.
So, I clicked the play button.
What could have been a boring video telling viewers to drive safely because roads where slippery from a recent rain was amped up with the comedic timing of officers Sgt. Chris Guerra and John Turner, both with the Crime Prevention Unit.
Watch the video here.
“That’s just natural,” Guerra said. “In the video, a lot of what you’re seeing is the way John and I interact with each other. I work with some of the funniest people I've ever known – You have to have a sense of humor to cope with what we deal with in this industry.”
That first video post got 89 shares, 501 likes and more than 400 comments with readers saying things such as, “I’m laughing to the point of tears here. You guys are awesome,” by Jillian Manuel from Portland and “Victoria has some cool cops,” from Jaime Solis Jr., of Victoria.
Guerra, who is the department’s spokesman, said the videos are really just a peak into the officer’s lives – a way to humanize these men and woman that so many people tend to naturally dislike.
“Law enforcement as a profession; we are authoritarian,” he said. “We are a negative connotation business – we typically don't pull you over just to compliment you on how awesome you made that right hand turn. And we don't show up to your home because you're having a peaceful family dinner.”
Most people, he said, only see a guarded side of an officer.
“The last people expect is humor, because they never see that in us,” he continued. “It doesn't present itself naturally in what we do.”
The funny videos didn't stop with the “It’s wet!” weather update. The next day, Guerra and Turner posted a new video, which by the way is my personal favorite.
Watch the video here.
In the video, the officers once again use their spot on comedic timing to shed light on one of the biggest criminal problems plaguing Victoria: Purse theft. Burglary this year is already up 14 percent from last year, and most of those are burglary of motor vehicle thefts. In 2013, there were 600 burglaries of motor vehicle offenses, an almost 30 percent jump from the year before. Officer Turner told me that the most stolen item from vehicles are purses. A crime, he said that can be preventable by simply not leaving the purse in the car.
The police department has done a lot of public awareness in regards to motor vehicle burglaries, I’ve wrote several articles and Officer Turner has even penned a few columns about the issue. Guerra said he stays up late at night thinking of ways to educate the public about how these crimes can be prevented.
“If we preach at these people they resent us for our authority,” he said. “Preaching at people doesn’t work. I want to tap into what does work.”
Other videos produced by the crime prevention officers include a video on speeding where Detective Parsons makes a singing cameo (ps, if you want to know more about Parsons, or Pappy as the department calls him, read my feature story on him here), Cops are People, Too and Don’t be a Victim.
Officer Guerra said the duo already has many more videos waiting to be posted and continue to think about new ones to record. For more, check out the police department's Facebook page.
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