Seattle police get to work on their response to Virginia cops' lip-sync challenge.

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Crowds of cops aren’t an unusual sight in Belltown, but they’re usually spotted when the bars are closing on Friday nights, not parading down Bell Street on a sunny Tuesday afternoon dancing to Macklemore’s “Downtown.”

In front of a camera, bike cops swerved idly down an alley and officers rapped in front of a vintage police car with a breakdancer out front.

The Seattle officers were out in force in response to a lip-sync video challenge from the Norfolk Police Department in Virginia. Seattle Police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said it was also a way to connect with the community.

“We’re correcting one of the wrongs in history and actually filming in Seattle, though,” he said, referring to Macklemore’s music video being filmed in Spokane.

Officer Stephanie Palmer, who came up with a vision for the video, said three Seattle officers, including her fiancé, used to work for the Norfolk department and they felt they had to accept the challenge.

“It’s a big morale booster and the officers have fun doing it,” she said.

Some Seattle residents criticized the police department’s decision to film the video on social media, saying police should be focused on more pressing matters. The department has been under six years of court-ordered reforms.

Whitcomb said most police were working on the video on their own time and there were still police patrolling the streets.

Officer Calvin Hinson showed up on his day off to watch. He’s going to be filming on Thursday at locations showing off the city, like Pike Place Market.

Hinson, who studied performing arts in school, said he was recruited because he and his partner used to record themselves singing in their patrol car. Those videos haven’t gone viral though, he said.

“It’s just showing that we have another side,” Hinson said. “We’re also part of this community.”

One section of the video shows Mayor Jenny Durkan riding behind an officer on a scooter.

Maya Sharpe, who teaches at Vibe Dance Studio in Mill Creek, is a background dancer in the video.

“They’re doing a fun thing and it’s good to see a positive event, with everything else going on,” she said. “It’s bringing people together.”

Palmer said there was some planning involved, but most of the dancing and lip-syncing was off-the-cuff.

The department worked with Belltown Community Council, Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle’s Office of Film and Music to plan, Whitcomb said.
The video is expected to be shared next week.