Photo is a screenshot from the Ontario Police Department lip sync video.
ONTARIO — It appears that the Ontario Police Department has some rhythm.
This week the department participated in a national movement of police departments that are revealing their lighter side by making lip sync videos. The video was posted on Facebook on the agency’s page last Wednesday and by Monday had been viewed 57,000 times.
All summer, police departments from Seattle to Charleston to New York have been challenging each other to make elaborate multi-song lip sync videos in an effort to build solidarity and show the public that even police officers can have fun.
Deputy Alexander Mena of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office in Texas started the movement with a video in June.
Locally, police departments in Nampa, Hermiston, Caldwell, Meridian, and now Ontario have produced videos.
The Homedale Police Department challenged Ontario.
The local video begins with a short skit in which Police Chief Cal Kunz leads a meeting and says that the department won’t be participating in the challenge.
His officers start demanding they reenact a scene from the 2004 movie “Napoleon Dynamite.”
The officers appear to have been given a final answer from the chief, but then the video cuts to outside and “Back In Black” by AC/DC starts playing. The officers begin grooving. Shortly after, Kunz stops their fun, but then starts to lip sync to “Unstoppable” by The Score, which plays for the remainder of the video.
Throughout the video, officers are shown dancing and singing along with the music, reenacting police tasks such as chasing down someone suspected of breaking the law, and lip syncing in their cars.
They involved the Ontario Fire Department to show that police officers can also be taught to save cats stuck in trees.
Ontario officers produced the video on their own time. Officer Casey Walker and his daughter did the editing.
Kunz said by the time Homedale issued its challenge, the Ontario agency had already gotten several requests from Ontario residents to produce a video. Walker sent out a text to the department group text fishing for song ideas.
Over the next few days, officers submitted hundreds of song ideas, according to Kunz.
“Officers really got psyched about it when we got challenged,” Kunz said. “It was a great team building project.”
Kunz said that it’s important for police departments to show that they have a sense of humor, especially when public scrutiny of police in recent years has been so high.
“When you have an opportunity to participate in a nationwide thing like this, it shows that people can relate to the police,” Kunz said.
He hopes the video will encourage Ontario residents to approach his officers more often.
He was glad to involve local kids in the video too.
“The best way to prevent crime in the future is to make good contact with kids,” Kunz said.
Although Ontario hasn’t challenged other police departments, Kunz said departments in the area should prepare themselves.
The challenge, he said, will come soon.
Max Egener: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.