Members of the Saanich Police Department in Victoria, Canada found a bit of extra time to do some community outreach back one May – and it involved putting on their dancing shoes.
Twenty-one officers from the department teamed up with 100 students from nearby Spectrum Community School’s dance program to plan a flashmob at Uptown. The song they chose – Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk,” of course.
In a press release issued after the event, the Saanich Police said the goal of the event was “to create a special relationship between students and police.”
“This was achieved by participating in the dance classes with the students where cops and kids could laugh with each other and work towards a common goal of dancing together in a flash mob. Dancing in public as part of a flash mob was definitely outside of most officer’s comfort zone but they were willing to step outside the box and create a special and lasting memory for our community.”
Not only did officers attend dance classes with the students but practiced on their own time as well.
And who gave them the moves? Lia Shannon, the Spectrum Community School dance teacher, who later won the Chief Constable’s Citizenship Award for her role in organizing the event.
Lia Shannon receiving the Chief Constable’s Citizenship Award. Congratulations! pic.twitter.com/sGytGWQ0Br
— Spectrum School (@SpectrumThunder) June 21, 2017
“It was truly such a surprise, I had no idea that award existed even. I was so honoured and delighted to receive it,” Shannon, told Victoria News.
The dance was professionally recorded by Roll Focus Productions and the official version has over 100,000 views on YouTube (though there are other recordings from those present at the event as well).
Putting it together
Putting together a public spectacle involving 121 people is no easy task, but the group was able to successfully surprise shoppers on May 4th with their 4-minute routine.
“My advanced dancers start it and then I had the rest of my dancers come in, so I had about 100 dancers, and then the police are acting like, what’s going on. And then they come in and that’s when they surprise the crowd,” Shanon said.
But she doesn’t claim credit for the idea – that was Niki Sundher, a member of Saanich Police’s community engagement division.
Believe it or not, Shannon and the dancers only had 4 days to put it all together!
“My dancers practiced every day, the whole day, for those four days,” she revealed.
Taking it seriously
The 21 police officers took their job seriously, attending classes when they could – even participating in 2 am instructionals Shannon held to accommodate their schedules.
“I had 17 police officers at one time in my class. I was just so impressed with how serious they took it.”
One officer, in particular, insisted on getting it right.
“He came in and practiced with me. I told him, this part is really difficult. But he was super serious and said, ‘I’m going to do this.’”
Pulling it off
Not only did the performance draw a crowd and plenty of kudos, but it accomplished its goal of making connections between students and the police.
“I thought it would just be a fun project and I can’t believe the impact it had on the community,” said Shannon, who’s also witnessed benefits for her students. “The connections the kids made with the police officers. They’re happy to see these officers now. It makes for a neat relationship.”
Be sure to scroll down below to see the performance for yourself!
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