PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — If you’re not following the Albany Police Department on TikTok, there are thousands who are beating you to it.
The Albany Police Department currently has 725.9K followers on the popular app along with 12 million likes. KOIN 6 News spoke with the department about their newfound fame, and a spokesperson said APD credits a teen for giving them the inspiration.
“I had a 16-year-old daughter then,” said Albany Police Department spokesperson Laura Hawkins, who created the TikTok account in February of 2020. “She’s 18 now. I was running ideas by her on how to connect with that generation.
Albany Police Officers “dropping it low” to a Beyonce song with 3.6 million views and an officer singing to a Celine Dion voiceover with 45.2 million views.
Hawkins explained the department doesn’t get any extra money for the attention but says it’s “an awesome way for the public and the community — and all over the world really — to see how police operate.”
She added, “We’re just regular humans and we like to have fun, and we’re not so scary.”
For those wanting the “secret” to going viral on TikTok, Hawkins doesn’t have a plan to share considering their first video two years ago took off without any effort.
She said the more seasoned officers prefer to not be in the videos. However, younger officers are more willing to give it a try.
“We have officers that will go to a call and younger crowds will be like, ‘I saw you on TikTok… Let’s go on TikTok.’ It gives kids something to relate with us, so they don’t think we’re all old people that don’t even know what (it) is,” Hawkins said.
The account also features the department’s K-9s along with other staff. She hopes the videos can be a way for the public to connect with residents of all ages.
“We forget that the uniform can be scary looking and unapproachable. That’s not what we want,” she noted. “We are part of the community. We want people to come to us… We just wanted to remind people that we are here for the community.”