Back in May, officers of the Saanich Police Department in Victoria, Canada, had some extra time to engage in some community engagement, which included putting on their dancing shoes.
Twenty-one police officers from the department worked with 100 students from Spectrum Community School’s dance program to plan a flashmob at Uptown.
The music they selected was, of course, Bruno Mars’ «Uptown Funk.»
The purpose of the event, according to a news release published after the event, was «to build a particular bond between kids and police.»
«This was accomplished by engaging in dance courses with the pupils, where officers and children could giggle and work toward a similar goal of dancing in a flash mob together.» «Dancing publicly as part of a flash mob was clearly beyond most officers’ comfort zones, but they were prepared to take a risk in order to create a great and lasting experience for our city.»
Officers not only attended dancing sessions alongside the kids, but they also trained in their own time.
Who taught them the moves? Lia Shannon, a dance instructor at Spectrum Community School, subsequently received the Chief Constable’s Citizenship Award for her involvement in arranging the event.
«I had no clue the prize existed; it was certainly a surprise.» Shannon told Victoria News, «I was extremely honored and happy to get it.»
Putting on a public show featuring 121 individuals is no simple undertaking.
«I had my experienced dancers begin it, and then I had the rest of my dancers join in, so I had about 100 dancers, and then the cops are like, what’s going on?» «And then they come in and amaze the audience,» Shanon said.
But she doesn’t take credit for the concept; that belongs to Niki Sundher, a member of the Saanich Police Department’s community engagement branch.
Shannon and the dancers had just four days to bring it all together.
«My dancers rehearsed every day, every day, for four days,» she said.
The 21 police forces took their responsibilities properly, attending courses when they could.
«I had 17 cops in my class at one point.» I was absolutely astounded by how seriously they took it. »
One cop in particular was enthusiastic about getting it properly.
«He came in and worked with me.» I informed him that this section was really tough. But he was absolutely serious when he stated it.
The concert not only drew a large audience and many compliments, but it also achieved its purpose of connecting kids and police officers.
«I believed it would simply be a delightful experience, and I can’t believe the effect it had on the community,» Shannon said, adding that she has seen advantages for her pupils as well. «The bonds the youngsters developed with the cops » They are relieved to see these cops today.» It makes for an interesting friendship. »