The short preview video starts with Durham’s police chief and sheriff standing before two rows of law enforcement officers in blue and brown uniforms.
“It sounds like they want a challenge,” Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis says. “If they want a challenge ...”
“We’ll give them a challenge,” responds Sheriff Mike Andrews.
“Sir, yes sir!” the officers and deputies call out.
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And then the dancing begins.
The video is a preview of the Durham Police Department and Durham County Sheriff’s Office response to the “Running Man” challenge. The full video will be released Monday.
Hillside, New Jersey, high school students Kevin Vincent and Jeremiah Hall, started the Internet craze. They posted their version of the running man dance – performed to the 1996 hit “My Boo” by Ghost Town DJs – on Instagram with the hashtag #runningmanchallenge.
In March, University of Maryland Maryland basketball players Jaylen Brantley and Jared Nickens created their own video and challenged other basketball teams.
After that, the challenge went viral.
Sports teams, celebrities and police departments (including in Durham, England) have posted videos.
For Durham, N.C., the challenge started after the Atlanta Police Department, where Davis used to work, posted a Running Man Challenge video June 16.
That video ends with hip hop artist, songwriter and record producer Jermaine “JD” Dupri and Atlanta Police Chief George N. Turner having a conversation.
“I doubt Dallas, New Orleans, Durham or Montgomery, or DeKalb County can even come close,” Turner says.
“Me neither,” Dupri says. “Welcome to Atlanta.”
Then they both drop their microphones.
In a video posted June 30, the Fayetteville Police Department also challenged Durham Police Department, along with the Raleigh Police Department and the N.C. Highway Patrol.
In a show of unity, Durham police officers and sheriff’s deputies teamed up, said Tamara Gibbs, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office.
Durham CrimeStoppers, the Divas ’N Dude Cheerleaders, the N.C. Central University Band, the Walltown Children’s Theatre and other organizations also appear in the video.
“It’s a community effort with the goal of creating a family-fun video that will boost morale and influence the public’s perception of law enforcement,” Gibbs said.
The complete story is there are a lot of law enforcement officers who work hard to serve their communities with honor and integrity.
Tamara Gibbs, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman
It might even be a recruitment tool. The Sheriff’s Office has received interest in open positions since the preview video was posted and shared on Facebook, Gibbs said.
The other goal is to demonstrate that officers and deputies are human.
“That’s something that often gets lost in the narrative about their profession,” Gibbs said. “The complete story is there are a lot of law enforcement officers who work hard to serve their communities with honor and integrity. Their job requires them to respond to very serious and often dangerous situations, so the video gives them a chance to have a little fun with the public they serve.”
No public money was used for the project. Novapane Productions and Durham-based Front Runner Productions donated their time and resources to produce the video. The officers and deputies volunteered their time to participate.
“It’s not all about making an arrest,” Durham Police Capt. Marianne Bond said
It’s good for morale, too, she said.
Law enforcement and community groups started filming June 27 in a variety of locations.
Deputy Melinda Hester thought it was great when she learned local law enforcement would take up the challenge. The night before the shoot, Hester, who has been with the county since 2012, and three other female deputies choreographed a routine.
“It is great that we got to come together away from the streets and doing police work and have a little bit of fun together on the same platform,” she said.