Pawhuska Police officers are proving through social media, there's more to them than a badge.
It's a push that started months ago, but the police chief said it’s more important now than ever before.
“We felt that that'd be a good way to show them that we're humans,” Chief Scott Laird said.
To convey that to the community, the chief had the idea arm himself with an iPhone and shoot video of his officers for social media.
In the videos, each officer introduces himself, tells a little about who he is and what he likes to do outside of work.
“It just breaks down a barrier. If we don't know something, we're afraid of it,” Laird said. “And once we get to meet them and know them, it makes it easier, it eases the tension.”
One of the newest officers, Patrolman Blake Burch, said he’s from Broken Arrow and has been with the department for six months.
“I am 23 years old and I have a fiancé and I'm about to have a newborn in about a week,” he said. “I also recently bought a house in Pawhuska, and coming from a big town to a small community, I really do enjoy Pawhuska and the people.”
While some of the officers are young and just starting families, others have years of experience under their belt. They all say they’re honored to wear the badge, and blue, but hope the video will show their other side, too.
“I pay taxes, I go to church, I go to the grocery story to get my food. I'm just a person. I'm not a doctor or lawyer. I'm a police officer,” Sergeant Rex Wikel said.
All of the police officers in Pawhuska are wearing mourning badges for the Dallas Police Department. It’s a reminder, the chief said, that some see cops as the bad guys.
“Makes you nervous at times, but, on the same token, we have a job to do. We're gonna stand up and be strong and do our job,” Laird said.
The chief said the videos are helping show it's not a police versus the people world, but that police are here to protect the people.
Then, like anyone else, they want to go home to their families.
“We're invested in these communities, and we wake up every day knowing it could be the last day doing what we do, and that doesn't waive us,” Laird said. “I'm the last person I think about. I owe it to my family every day to go home. When I go home and see their faces, I've done my job that day.”