Josh Shaffer

Shaffer: Raleigh police officer slips, slides to goodwill in snow

Raleigh police officer J.D. Boyd laughs as he is pelted by snowballs during a friendly skirmish with neighborhood children at Lions Park Tuesday.
Raleigh police officer J.D. Boyd laughs as he is pelted by snowballs during a friendly skirmish with neighborhood children at Lions Park Tuesday. jhnight@newsobserver.com

For a police officer, J.D. Boyd keeps a busy Facebook profile, tapping out updates from his beat like a social media ace.

He warned residents about a slippery Brookside Drive, comparing it to a skating rink.

He reminded drivers not to speed on Edmund Street, posting a picture of himself holding the very ticket he’d be writing.

He let everyone know about an uptick in phone scams at tax season, telling them the IRS will never try to collect money over the phone.

So on Tuesday, with snow falling in fat flakes, he jokingly asked his Facebook audience to borrow a sled for answering calls.

Then he issued a challenge:

“Community snowball fight, anyone?”

A friendly melee ensued.

Roughly five fighters showed up for the first brawl at Lions Park, then closer to 10 for the second, which also drew a News & Observer film and video team. The clip has attracted 1,977 YouTube views and 63,798 Facebook “likes.”

Boyd described it as open-field warfare, a good-natured way of admitting he got pummeled.

“There was no cover,” said Boyd, a master officer with four years with Raleigh police. “I took a lot of hits because of it.”

One schoolgirl participant boasted that she’d tell all of her friends at school about snow-fighting a police officer and winning, which Boyd thinks may be going to too far.

“It’s tough to say who wins if nobody leaves crying.”

He and Officer C.A. Martucci then attacked the hills on a pair of sleds, their uniforms still crisp under a coating of snow.

“I don’t want to just be the guy who shows up when bad things happen,” Boyd explained.

On the East Raleigh Facebook page, citizens from other neighborhoods were envious. But to Boyd, a good snowball barrage is just part of a good community policing profile.

His Facebook network got started, he said, after a series of burglaries last October, and regular postings helped to get a suspect in custody.

People got to know him and the posts kept coming after that, he said, adding this unintentional joke:

“It just kind of snowballed.”

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