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A challenge accepted

The lip-sync challenge that has been sweeping the nation from one local law enforcement agency to another officially arrived in Prince Edward on Saturday morning as the Prince Edward County Sheriff’s Office accepted the challenge.

Sheriff Wesley W. Reed showed up with four members of his office at the track across the street from Prince Edward County High School to film a music video that will go online soon.

To view more photos of the lip-sync challenge, click here.

Reed shared why he accepted the challenge.

“It’s about community policing, you know what I’m saying?” he said. “So it shows the community just a different outlook of the sheriff’s office that we just don’t do just law enforcement, we’re participating, community policing, this is what this is all about, just let the community see a different side of us — on a positive note.”

The dance and lip-syncing leads for the sheriff’s office were Lt. Sonya Walker, Deputy Calvin Walker, Deputy Mike Fowlkes II and Sgt. Kevin Randolph.

Sonya Walker noted that participating in the challenge helps “to give a different impression of law enforcement, to show our softer, funnier side, because we are that — we’re human, we have fun.”

She said Saturday’s event and the video to be produced “was created to be a bonding moment with the community and with our agency.”

She noted they would be lip-syncing and dancing to four different songs, but she didn’t want to reveal to the general public ahead of time which songs they chose.

“I want the community to be surprised when they see the video,” she said. “We put some hard work into it, putting it together, and its sponsored by Richmond Urban Dance. They’re out here, so they brought some of their dancers down to be able to be our background.”

Mandy Helmlinger, founder, director and owner of Richmond Urban Dance, explained how she became involved.

“Lt. Walker actually emailed me,” she said. “I think she probably had seen some of our videos online and said that she actually had been wanting to come to some of our classes, and so when they decided to do the challenge, she called to see if we’d be interested in helping. So right away, I was like, ‘Yes.’”

Helmlinger’s husband is a police officer in Ashland.

Sharing what the game plan was prior to the music video shoot, she said, “I’ll be mainly directing and filming. My son will be filming and editing, and then the rest of these guys will be dancing. Most of the videos we’ve seen don’t really have a whole lot of I’d say professional dancers in it, so we’re hoping ours will be different because it will be more like a real music video.”

The sheriff’s office and Richmond Urban Dance ended up filming in multiple locations Saturday. In addition to the track, they performed on the steps of Prince Edward County Courthouse, at the Prince Edward County Volunteer Rescue Squad and under a bridge in High Bridge Trail State Park.

As for when the video will be released, on Saturday, Helmlinger said, “Hopefully within a week or two. The sooner the better.”