Waterford — Waterford officers have become the region’s first to accept a viral Facebook challenge that has police across the country dancing and lip-syncing in humorous videos.
Chief Brett Mahoney said he happily agreed to participate when Sgt. Marc Balestracci approached him last week about lip-syncing Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”
The department posted the video to Facebook Friday at 6:30 a.m. By 1:30 p.m., it had been shared 630 times.
“We try and support people who try do different things to reach out to the community,” Mahoney said. “We like to show there’s a different side to police other than what can be portrayed in the media as negative. We like to have fun like everybody else.”
The video takes viewers inside the chief’s office, out by the water, on top of a boat and even to a local Dunkin’ Donuts.
Balestracci estimated about one-third of the department participated.
“We did have a few who volunteered and then backed out because they were nervous,” he said. “But with all the people watching it … if (the officers) weren’t in it this time, maybe they’ll do it next time we do something similar.”
Typically, a department participates after being challenged by another department. In this case, though, Balestracci said he saw Waterford residents commenting on the posts of other departments, asking when Waterford was going to join in.
“That put me onto the idea,” he said, calling it a win-win because the officers had a good time and the department’s Facebook following has grown.
Balestracci, who taught himself how to edit in iMovie by watching YouTube videos, said he hopes at least one other local department will produce a video. Waterford police challenged East Lyme, New London, Groton City and Groton Town police.
“I just got cup of coffee and had four people come up to me while I was sitting there,” Mahoney said. “They were saying things like … ‘We didn’t know you had it in you.’ The response has been fantastic.”