The internet has been charmed by the latest online challenge featuring the men and women in uniform across the country. One central San Joaquin Valley police force brought it home.
It doesn't involve eating Tide pods or absorbing large amounts of cinnamon, such as other viral challenges we've witnessed. Nor does it involve ice water being dumped over someone, except for maybe in the case of the Grapevine Police Department in Grapevine, Texas, where uniformed officers reenacted the famous Flashdance water scene and lip-synced to "Maniac" by Michael Sembello.
No, the "lip-sync challenge," as it's called, is sweeping police departments across the country and it draws officers to lip-sync to songs while sitting in their police cars. Or in other cases, police departments organize choreographed skits to accompany the lip-sync mania that puts officers' lesser-known skills to the test.
The Valley, of course, didn't want to be left out of the fun. The Tulare County Sheriff's Office posted a video on Tuesday to Facebook of one of its deputies lip-syncing to well-known originals that caught the attention of Facebook users. The video quickly went viral.
"We're surprised but I guess not shocked," said Ashley Ritchie, media specialist with the Tulare County Sheriff's Office. "People love to see the deputies as real human beings."
In the video, a Tulare County sheriff's patrol car pulls up in the dark of night with flashing lights. Then appears deputy Lucio Cobos with Cruizer, his K-9, before Cobos begins to rock back and forth in his seat to "Sound of da Police" by KRS-One followed by "Jump Around" by House of Pain. Cruizer steals the spotlight with a string of serious barks unleashed as Cobos jams out.
Ritche said the video was shot and edited recently by Cobos himself while he was on vacation. Cobos has been on the force for more than four years. Cruizer, a 2-year-old Belgian malinois, has been with the department for about a year, Ritchie said Wednesday.
Cobos and Cruizer display their intimate side in the second half of the lip-sync challenge video, where the two bond to "Happy Together" by The Turtles. A few seconds of the video shows the two taking a much-needed rest.
The video had reached more than 69,000 views and more than 2,500 shares on Facebook by Wednesday afternoon. Positive comments from followers of the department were abundant.
Ritchie said the department is just as excited about the video and the response to it as the public is. Some people commented that they approved of the choice of songs by Cobos.
"Leave it to our very own Tulare County Sheriff's (Office) to kick it old school," read one comment online. "So glad they chose something besides Taylor Swift and 'Call me maybe.' "
Ritchie said the department is glad the public responded so well to the video. If anything, the video gives the public a look into the department's fun and communal side.
"It's just a fun thing. We don't have to be so serious all the time," Ritchie said. She also added that "we forget that law enforcement people are just regular people doing their jobs."
As online challenges go these days, several people in the comment section asked the Tulare County Sheriff's Office to nominate another local police force to create a lip-sync video of their own. Ritchie said have no fear, a department-wide video is in the works to continue the viral challenge.
"We've started on it," she said. "I'd say look for something by the beginning of next week."
And as for which police department or sheriff's office will be challenged to a lip-sync performance by Tulare County, stay tuned, Ritche said.
"We have an idea," but for now it's a secret.