MADISON, Wis. — Leaders of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department figured that the department would be more effective if officers are viewed as hipper and approachable. So the UW-Madison police made a music video.
Chief Susan Riseling was among about 25 department employees, on duty at taxpayer expense, who participated in making a video to Pharrell Williams’ popular song, “Happy.” The move made some critics unhappy.
“They should not be doing this kind of thing,” Orville Seymer, field coordinator for Citizens for Responsible Government, told the Wisconsin Reporter.
Shooting the 3-minute video took about 45 minutes. UW-Madison police spokesman Marc Lovicott then spent several hours editing and producing it, Riseling said.
Although the cost to the public may be small, Seymer criticized the department for making the video on the taxpayer’s dime when “its employees should have been protecting and serving the community.”
“Instead of wasting time on this, they should be patrolling streets and arresting criminals,” he told the Wisconsin Reporter.
Jim Strand, president of the Waukesha Taxpayers League, questioned the need for the video. He said he would be more willing to support the production if it provided valuable information, such as warning students not to hitchhike.
But Riseling and Lovicott say the video will help enhance the department’s public image. In an email, Riseling said:
We want students, staff, and faculty to approach us with issues, problems, fears, concerns, need for information, and any other public service we can give them as our community. In order to do that we have to show we have a sense of humor and we are up to date on the latest things in their world.