IN SYNC WITH ‘SHACK’
The Sheriff’s Office answered a law enforcement lip sync challenge with its version of a B-52’s hit song — getting help from a special guest star
They may have been a little late to the party, but employees of the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office finally found a little old place where they could get together and join in the fun of the law enforcement lip sync challenge that swept the country late last year.
On Thanksgiving, the Sheriff’s Office released their version of the B-52’s 1989 hit “Love Shack.”
The video features a number of employees of the Sheriff’s Office — both civilian and uniformed — as well as some of their family members, and a cameo appearance by Kate Pierson, one of the singers and founding members of the 1980s new wave band the B-52’s.
The idea to make the video came when Lt. Abram Markiewicz’s brother in Houston sent him a link to one of the videos that had begun popping up on the internet.
“I thought that it was pretty good, and we should try to do something like that here,” said Markiewicz.
After getting permission from former Ulster County Sheriff Paul VanBlarcum, Markiewicz reached out to the Woodstock Day School, which, he said, has “a full-fledged media program,” for help making the video.
“They were over the charts excited to do it,” he said.
It then came down to deciding what song to perform.
The Apple Valley Police Department, in Minnesota, performed “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” by the Tokens for its challenge. In Las Cruces, New
Mexico, a group of police officers performed “Should’ve Been A Cowboy,” by Toby Keith.
Songs by Justin Timberlake were popular with a number of other police departments, as were songs by Taylor Swift and even Miley Cyrus.
Markiewicz spent several
weeks watching videos created by other departments and mulling over different songs.
“I literally had a list on my nightstand and would wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning with a song in my head and write it down,” he laughed.
“There were a lot of submissions across the country, a lot of different songs,” he said. “We didn’t want to be the fifth group to do whatever certain song and we
wanted to have a light fun song.”
Then, he remembered that Pierson lived nearby and that one of the officers in the department knew her.
“I thought, ‘If we can get Kate Pierson, it’s got to be “Love Shack.’”
He said getting Pierson turned out to be easy, “my understanding was she was on board with it right from the beginning,” and the lip sync was closer to becoming reality.
Over the course of several months, Sheriff’s Office employees would “get together” for a few hours at a time to record the video. The agency’s Incident Command vehicle may not be a car, but it’s certainly “as big as a whale,” and while a holding cell in the Sheriff’s Office might seem an unlikely place for a “love shack,” it was a perfect “little place” for the video.
Once filming was completed, Woodstock Day
School students did the editing and finishing touches, and in November the video was released.
“It was a lot of fun,” Markiewicz. “We were very conscious about not taking away from the public’s safety or attention doing it, and the whole thing was done with volunteers. We weren’t using taxpayer time to do it or taxpayer money to do it.’
Markiewicz said that in an agency in which its employees are spread out over
the hundreds of square miles of Ulster County, it was good to be able to get together and have some fun with co-workers they may not see often.
Beyond that, he said, it was an opportunity to show the community the “fun” side of the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office.
“We’re not all business all the time,” he said. “We’re regular people and we’re not above poking fun at ourselves.”
Members of the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office set sail in a scene from their lip sync video challenge.
Members of the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office in a scene from the lip sync challenge video.