Police departments in Pittsfield and Lee get lip sync silly


PITTSFIELD — Local police departments joined an online sensation this week, and the results are giggle-inducing.

In response to community requests, two officers from the Lee Police Department teamed up to film a video as part of a lip-sync battle sweeping police departments across the nation. After posting the video to Facebook and Twitter on Sunday, they challenged the Pittsfield Police Department to do the same.

On Thursday afternoon, Pittsfield officers obliged, in turn extending the challenge to the Pittsfield Fire Department and North Adams Police Department.

The first two videos put out by Berkshire men in uniform have been big hits. The Lee department's video garnered over 20,000 views, and the Pittsfield department's video reached 45,000 views in just an hour after posting.

Lee officers took a more raw, off-the-cuff approach, while Pittsfield's man-about-town Officer Darren Derby turned to Clayson Creative for added production value. The Pittsfield video includes over 4 minutes of banter between Derby and Officer John Bassi, and a mouthed musical mashup of songs like Frozen's "Let it Go," Elton John's "Bennie and the Jets," Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You," Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby," and Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot."

To the tune of Elton John, of course, Derby sports gold and glitter shades while hammering piano keys, he passionately buffs his motorcycle miming Sheeran lyrics, and confronts the man in the mirror as Benatar belts out a classic.

Initially, it was unclear if Derby would accept the challenge — he admittedly isn't very good at memorizing lyrics — but he said, "I couldn't back down."

"The wait is over, and I can finally get some sleep and move on!" Derby wrote in the video post.

Derby said he got hundreds of messages requesting the video.

In the first Berkshire video, Lee Officer Jason Hopkins leans with one arm on a fence, nighttime sunglasses on and his cheek in one hand. He bops his head side to side with the violin beat, looking pensively away from the camera.

The frame pans to the inside of a police cruiser. Officer Chad Cummings sits in the driver's seat, and Hopkins, his chin his hands, looks adoringly at him. Cummings wiggles his head side to side to the fast-paced tempo of Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe."

Cue the chorus.

"Hey! I just met you. This is craz-y! Here's my number. Call me maybe," Jepsen sings in high-pitch as the officers lip synch along.

The beat drops, Cummings hits a switch, and police lights go flashing.

"And all the other boys, try to chase me," they mouth, as Hopkins grabs Cummings' cheeks into a puckered expression.

Lee Police Chief Jeff Roosa said he asked the officers to do it.

"They're actually old hats at it," he said. "They're both a couple of big kids themselves."

Hopkins said he and Cummings attended police academy together, and the song was newly released at the time. As a team-building task, the academy asked them to perform a song, and that's the song they chose.

With the video, Hopkins said the department saw an opportunity to repurpose the song.

"It's good community relations," he said. "It lets the public know we are human."

With the lyrics already in the bag, Hopkins said the video took about 5 minutes to produce.

"We didn't really decide who'd do what," he said. "It's just a bond we have."

And if you're wondering what Hopkins was thinking during his pensive opening scene, it was: "My wife's going to kill me, and chief's going to love it."

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-496-6296.


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