When the Irving Police Department released their Pokemon Go safety tips video last week, they never expected it to go viral.
But now that the video's gotten over 2 million views, many may be wondering about its star: the police officer protecting us all from Pokemon Go. That would be Officer Kevin Hubbard of the department's Crime Prevention Unit.
The Dallas Morning News talked to Hubbard about the inspiration behind the video, what the response has been like and why he loves playing Pokemon Go.
Where did the idea for the video come from?
I want to mention two civilians who work here at the Police Department, the video's mastermind, Chelsey Jones, and the female in it, Tara Taylor, secretary in the criminal investigations division.
We needed someone to be involved and be an actor in it. The three of us were involved in the filming of this.
We all play Pokemon Go, and we're all avid participants in the game. We all have kids, and unfortunately we're all kids at heart, too.
We all recognize this was kind of a big thing as far as a trend in the community. Chelsey approached our administration and said, "why don't we do a safety video involving Pokemon Go?"
When we first started doing it, she walked into my office and said: "These are the six tips I want to cover: driving, walking in traffic, lures at Poke Stops, stolen phones, playing Pokemon with a friend, and not going onto private property."
And from that point, she grabs the camera, and she says 'All right, let's go, let's find a place, let's film these and let's improv it as we go.'
What has the response been like from this video?
We've done a lot of crime prevention videos in the past. They really haven't taken off.
There are two different ways you can come at crime prevention videos. You can come at them with a serious aspect, that you've got a point you're trying to make with the public. This is the first time time we've got approval as far as having fun with it.
We all play the game and we understand where they're coming from. I've been in places where I've played and realized that this is not the safest thing to do. I have a 9-year-old son and I have to pull him closer while walking across the curb. I've thought maybe this might be a bad situation and not be completely safe. It [the video] is very pertinent to what's going on.
Everyone's called it cheesy, and that's exactly what it is. The goal was: let's try to make it as funny as we can but still get the point across. After about two hours of filming, it all came together.
Have you acted in a video before, and has it gotten this type of response?
We've been actors in them, but I think the record we had was 33,000 views. We were sitting there keeping track of how many Facebook views, and within three or four hours we had already surpassed that. This morning we looked again and it was about 2.1 million.
We're trying to keep track of some of the comments. A lot of the stuff we've seen has been really awesome. With the current state of police in America right now, and all the stuff in Dallas right now, we're trying to give a positive light to the profession. It did a really good job of doing that.
Were you inspired by other police departments' Pokemon Go videos?
Before we went and shot anything, we wanted to make sure we weren't doing the same thing somebody else had done. There are other ones where they've captured people with Pokeballs and, yeah, they were kind of inspiring. We tried to make sure we were consistent and at least had fun with it. We took it to a new level.
We cheesed it up. We use so much stuff from Pokemon. We're trying to make it so it's consistent and funny, having the little Pokemon show up on the screen.
How did you shoot the video?
We were in Veterans Memorial Park just across the street from the police station for probably about two hours.
You get nervous or think, This probably wasn't the way I should have said that, or I might have missed hitting her with a Pokeball. Or I hit her with a Pokeball and she's still standing there.
I threw the Pokeball about 50 times or so. It was about five hours worth of editing and making sure we had everything right in our computers and stuff.
There's always an anxious moment when you hit that post button, hoping that everybody likes it. It definitely turned out well.