What a blast to witness. What a fantastic idea to unite the neighborhood! One May, officers from the Saanich Police Department in Victoria, British Columbia, put on their dance shoes and did some community outreach work.
A flashmob at Uptown was organized by 21 police officers and 100 dancers from the adjoining Spectrum Community School’s dance program. They went with Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” as their music of choice.
Developing Interpersonal Relationships
The Saanich Police Department stated in a press release that the event’s purpose was to “establish a particular bond between schoolchildren and the police.”
Cops and kids could laugh together and work towards a common goal of dancing in a flash mob because they took part in dance courses together. For most officers, dancing publicly as part of a flash mob was an uncomfortable experience. Still, they were prepared to take a risk to make a lasting impression on the community.
Officers not only participated in dancing lessons alongside the kids, but they also practiced independently. How did they get their start? It was organized by dance instructor Lia Shannon from the Spectrum Community School, and she went on to win the Chief Constable’s Citizenship Award.
Lia Shannon receiving the Chief Constable's Citizenship Award. Congratulations! pic.twitter.com/sGytGWQ0Br
— Spectrum School (@SpectrumThunder) June 21, 2017
Roll Focus Productions captured the performance professionally, and the video has garnered over 100,000 views on YouTube (though there are other recordings from those present at the event as well).
As difficult as it was for the ensemble, their 4-minute routine on May 4th succeeded in surprising passers-by.
“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.” Shanon explained that when the performers arrive, they “surprise the crowd.”
However, she is not the one who came up with the concept; it belongs to Saanich Police’s community engagement section member Niki Sundher. For real, Shannon and the performers had only four days to pull it off!
Her dancers worked tirelessly for four days straight, she claimed. They were considering it as something important. Despite their busy duty, the 21 police officers took their training seriously, attending seminars when they could, even Shannon’s 2 a.m. sessions to suit their irregular schedules.
“I had 17 police officers at one time in my class. I was just so impressed with how serious they took it.” One cop, in particular, was adamant about doing things correctly the first time.
In addition to drawing a large audience and receiving a lot of applause, the show successfully connected children with the police.
According to Shannon, who saw the initiative’s benefits for her kids, she initially believed it would be a “fun” activity. “The connections the kids made with the police officers. They’re happy to see these officers now. It makes for a neat relationship.”