A video nearing viral status this week on social media shows a Kansas City police officer tossing his hands into the air like he just don’t care.
Neighborhood kids look at each other and laugh.
The officer then attempts a spin move.
It’s a “dance-off” and the officer is obviously losing — at least at the dancing.
It’s interactions like this police are hoping will build trust with Kansas City kids.
“That stuff happens daily in Kansas City,” said Capt. Tye Grant, a spokesman for the Kansas City Police Department. “It is probably just something that most people don’t imagine when they think of police work.”
In this case, it was caught on video by a resident and eventually posted to the department’s YouTube channel.
Last month, someone captured a similar interaction of KC police playing basketball with neighborhood kids. That video was posted to and shared on Facebook.
“We want kids to know that they can lean on us when they need something. When they need help, we are here to help them,” Grant said.
The officers, he said, are also parents, fathers, mothers, uncles and aunts and getting out of the patrol cars and interacting with children, “sometimes just feels like the right thing to do.”
When the such videos appear, the department shares them on its social media accounts.
“We’re starting to learn how use it (social media) more,” Grant said. “It’s a great tool. It’s another tool that we can use to assist us to address a wide array of different topics.”
The department this week surpassed 40,000 followers on Twitter and in 2013 was ranked the fourth social-media-friendly police department by MPHProgramsList.com.
Another recent example of how the department is using social media is a video it posted to its YouTube channel created by Traffic Enforcement Officers James Coleman and Bryan Paxton.
The officers shot the video on their own time to encourage people to join the force by highlighting some of the department’s assignments.
Although that video and the two others shot by residents are isolated videos, they all show what it’s like to be a police officer on a daily basis.
“An officer’s job is not just in the video from the traffic officers,” Grant said. “The daily duties involves a whole host of things.”
The three videos also give people a view of the diversity of what officers experience on the job, he said.
“It’s a community effort to solve crime,” Grant said. “Good relationships with people with people within the community will help us to facilitate more crime being solved.”
So people shouldn’t surprised if they see an officer in a dance off with a group of neighborhood kids.
“Maybe we do need to give dance lessons,” Grant said. “Just maybe that person not being the instructor.”
To reach Robert A. Cronkleton, call 816-234-4261 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.