For those of us who are not in the Generation Z population, TikTok may be a complete mystery of a social media channel. With most users on the app in their teens or are young adults many describe TikTok loosely as a social network for amateur music videos, according to Slate. Although there is a large population of teenagers who love the TikTok app, there is also a thriving community of law enforcement officers who also have generated huge followings in the hundreds of thousands.
So, should your police force get on board?
What is TikTok?
Before there was the TikTok we know today there was Musical.ly, which launched back in 2014 gaining a dedicated user base over the next few years. Slate explains that in 2017 the company was acquired by ByteDance, a Beijing media and technology company which had their own similar app, TikTok. Musical.ly was very popular in the Americas and Europe and TikTok was hugely recognized in Asia with 500 million monthly active users. ByteDance made the decision to combine both of the apps to improve efficiency, and the company told Reuters that “TikTok better reflects the breadth of content created on our platform that extends beyond music to comedy, performance art and more”, according to Slate. From there TikTok was reborn into a huge phenomenon that has taken over for previous video social media channels, such as Vine.
TikTok videos range from 15 seconds, and those clips can be strung together to create a video story of up to 60 seconds long. According to Slate, “Dancing is particularly big on the app, which makes sense given its musical roots, and so are other movement-based activities like gymnastics, cheerleading, and parkour. Comedy is huge, though it’s often lip-sync–based comedy”, which you’ll see from some examples below.
Why Are Law Enforcement Utilizing TikTok
A Morning Consult survey found that many members of the Gen Z population are notably less trusting of the police when compared to older generations, according to Medium. As the audience for TikTok is young, with 60% of its 26.5 million U.S. users being between the ages of 16 and 24, law enforcement and police officers are using the platform to shape public attention. Medium explains that many police TikTok videos range from lip-syncs and dance challenges to earnest posts about coming home relieved after a long night on the job.
The hashtag, #HumanizingTheBadge, is relatively self-explanatory. Police officers want people to know that they are real people too. The hashtag has been viewed more than 32.7 million times on the TikTok app, and officers are hoping that those who stumble across a law enforcement related video will lead them down a rabbit hole of police content. If there is enough exposure to funny police videos law enforcement officials hope that it can help change the minds of young people about their officers.
5 Funny Law Enforcement TikTok Videos
Find some examples of how police officers have used TikTok to spread awareness, joy, and laughter.
This group of police officers lip synched to the song “Stand By Me” in their vehicle, utilizing handcuffs as props.
Officer Nae Nae created this funny TikTok, captioned “Everyone deserves a warning at least once in their life.” To those who have been pulled over and received just a warning, this video rings true.
The Daily Mail shared a video of a young man who was late to his presentation and was unable the tie his tie. The police officer kindly tied the tie for him and let him go. Such a heartwarming video from the Menomonle Police Department.
Here’s a great dancing clip of Officer Anderson during a break on his night shift.
Lastly, this officer is poking fun at the police and donut stereotype. Who doesn’t love a good donut?
TikTok and Community Policing
Community-oriented policing is essentially put in place to build trust between citizens and police officers through mutual understanding and collaboration. Although community policing looks different for every jurisdiction, many law enforcement agencies are fine tuning different ways to reach the community, with TikTok being the latest initiative.