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The North Branford Auditorium big screen lit up on Sept. 9, when a public viewing party gathered to see North Branford Police Dept. turn up on live TV as the ninth-place finalist of CBS 'Lip Sync to the Rescue.' Here, North Branford Police Sgt. Brian Hannon crushes his role lip-syncing to the hit country song "Kick the Dust Up" by singer Luke Bryant. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
Deputy Chief of Police Jim Lovelace (right) joins with members of NBPD in thanking the community for its support during a public viewing party of the CBS 'Lip Sync to the Rescue' live event on Sept. 9 at North Branford Auditorium. Pam Johnson/The Sound. | Buy This Photo)
Judy Bannon thanks the public for supporting North Branford Police Department (NBPD) in many ways during the lip sync process, from participating as video extras to coming out to a special viewing party celebrating NBPD at North Branford Auditorium on Sept. 9. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
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This small town – and it's small police force -- made a spectacular showing on Sept. 9, when North Branford Police Department's (NBPD) viral video popped up on TV screens across America, placing ninth in the nation during a live "Lip Sync to the Rescue" special aired by CBS. With 23 officers, NBPD was also the smallest force to make it into the nation's top ten.
Online voting support for NBPD to make it to the top ten had been strong since April, which is when CBS first notified NBPD it was one among 30 agencies in the country in the running to be aired on the live special. NBPD was the only Connecticut department to be selected among the 30 agencies, based on a dazzling lip sync challenge video that was first released on YouTube by Inspiration in Motion in August, 2018.
The montage of music and video features many of NBPD's finest, lip-syncing and cutting it up with community members. The video shows off some of North Branford's best summer locations and most-loved activities, from scenes set in sunflower fields and open fields to cops dancing on the stage at North Branford's Potato and Corn (POCO) festival.
On Sept. 9, ahead of the live 8 p.m. CBS show, a crowd of community members joined with representatives of NBPD, the video's volunteer production team and local leaders (including Chief of Police Kevin Halloran, Fire Chief William Seward III, Mayor Michael Doody, Police Commission members, Town Manager Mike Paulhus and State Representative Vincent Candelora) together with many local first responders, to watch the final reveal of the top ten on the big screen at North Branford Auditorium.
Judy Bannon, a volunteer who helped NBPD pull together the community-wide video effort, worked with a committee to organize the Sept. 9 viewing party. It got underway an hour and a half before the live show aired, with hotdogs for the crowd, donated by Route 22 Chat n' Chew (Northford); stuffed breads and hot dog rolls donated by Venice Bakery (Hamden), a pre-show Bounce House courtesy of Mad Tents (Wallingford) and music by DJ Anthony Esposito.
Bannon thanked everyone who was involved, in any way, with the video project.
"From its inception, our goal was to make this a video about North Branford so that if someone watched this video and didn't know anything about us, they would have a good sense of our town," said Bannon. "In addition, we wanted to show our police officers in the very best light. We set out to do good by North Branford, and I think that's what happened. And really, the whole thing was to improve the relationship between the townspeople and our police officers – not that we really had a whole way to go. [There are] other towns and places where the police are underappreciated. Here in North Branford, we know how to show our appreciation."
The night's crowd showed its appreciation after Bannon asked Deputy Police Chief Jim Lovelace and several officers and agency members who appeared in the video to stand up and be recognized. Lovelace, who served as Acting Chief of Police during the making of the video in 2018, said the video couldn't have happened without Bannon's commitment and the support of the public.
"Our goal was to focus on the community, as Judy said. That's always our goal," said Lovelace. "But to have the support along the way, and everybody that volunteered --- thank you for helping us make this into what it is."
"Honestly, no matter what happens, we already know we're winners," Bannon concluded.
The live show started out by naming the night's tenth-place police video (Skokie IL police). Moments later, the local crowd went wild as CBS "Lip Sync to the Rescue" host Cedric the Entertainer introduced the agency placing ninth,saying, "...coming in hot out of Connecticut, we've got the North Branford Police."
The showed aired the video's "Kick the Dust Up" segment, with some healthy national airplay given to NBPD Sgt. Brian Hannon, who crushed his role lip-syncing to the hit country song by singer Luke Bryant. Bryant also happened to be the special guest entertainer on the CBS Sept. 9 live show.
Joining Hannon in the featured NBPD clip which aired on CBS Sept. 9 were several other NBPD members, a crowd of citizens in pick-up trucks, blended in with some extreme wide/drone camera shots in an open field and cops dancing on stage at POCO. True to Bryant's lyrics, the segment showed how North Branford can turn a cornfield into a party.
CBS's top prize came down to a live Twitter vote on Sept. 9 between a final reveal of the top two police agencies; Seattle WA and Norfolk VA, with Norfolk declared the winner.
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