Aerial Ronell and Ranell Roy, two officers from the Rosenberg, Texas Police Department, shot a video in their squad car as they lip synched to Katy Perry's hit from last year, "Dark Horse," featuring rapper Juicy J. The male voice was lip-synched by Ronell while Roy played the part of Perry. The department posted the scene on its active Facebook page. Now the duo's video has gone viral.
As of Friday morning, the original post had 22,523 likes and 90,425 shares. There is also a department YouTube page, where its "Hip Hop Cops" video has nearly 29,000 views. According to the department, there were a total or more than 1 million views in just two hours.
"We actually want to be able to show people that we're just people, just like everybody else," Ronnell said to KPRC, with Roy adding, "The message is that we're not the enemy, we're the friends of the community."
One Facebook comment from a Sonja Smith asked if Roy was single and "can Rosenberg police dept hook a single law abiding citizen up?"
Some commenters claimed that the officers were wasting money and not doing their job. The Rosenberg Police Department's account replied: "This is community policing at its best. Gain the cooperation of your citizens and they better learn how to 'police WITH us.'" But, by far, most of the comments were positive and supportive. Earlier this year, the department posted a video of an officer playing football with a local boy.
Facebook users Rebecca Elizabeth Richardson wrote: "I think this was hilarious and a great way for people to see the 'real' human side of officers. Good job you two!!"
Mixing policing and entertainment isn't new, although it usually takes a terpsichorean turn. In 2010, a New York City traffic cop at Flatbush and Fourth Avenue was caught dancing on a video. A little further north, Providence Officer Tony Lepore has made a name for himself with his dancing while directing traffic. And last year some Danish police showed their moves at a music festival.
But sometimes police literally overstep the bounds, as happened when some NYPD officers got in trouble for grinding during a parade. At least the Hip Hop Cops will avoid getting a bum rap.