The past two weeks our crew has felt a little bit like we were on the set of Fast and Furious! When the Newport News Police Department commissioned us to make a new recruitment video – we were stoked to say the least!
Spanning three weeks and over four days of filming – we got to see nearly every aspect of the Newport News Police Department. Early Monday morning, we started things off with Sergeant Hires and Officer Wilder, who are two School Resource Officers at Denbigh High School. They shared with us what it is like to not only monitor everything going on inside of Denbigh’s halls, but they also explained the importance of being a mentor to the students. Whether these officers were playing guitar with their students during lunch or talking trash about the latest NNPD vs. Denbigh High School soccer game, it was clear that students admired and respected these officers. Very cool.
It did not slow down from there! We headed over to a staged robbery scene, where we documented how NNPD officers respond to a robbery calls and what would take place within different sectors of their department. After the staging, we got to interview Detective Melson, who took us through her journey to becoming a detective with the NNPD. She made it easy to capture passion in her answers as she raved about the opportunity and brotherhood/sisterhood within their department.
For the third location of the day we headed out to NNPD’s South Precinct to listen in on a weekly briefing between their unit and catch some officers in day-to-day action. (Chandler got to peak in on the evidence room – wow!!) With so much crime happening in a small area it was obvious these officers have a lot on their plates, but were so willing to jump in wherever they were needed. We grabbed another quick interview and then we were off again!
The last stop on day one was to the Newport News Marina where we got the coolest opportunity to head out onto the water with the NNPD Marine Unit. While half of our crew was whipping around on the water, Jon and Glenn were capturing footage from the land and air! It was definitely a hot one out there, but this unit threw our crew right into the navigator’s chair and were so much fun to work with!
After recouping for the night we were ready to get back out there again for day two! That afternoon, our first stop was to City Center at Oyster Point, where we met up with four members of the NNPD Bicycle Patrol unit. We got some footage of them interacting with restaurant diners, employees, and shoppers who were passing through the area. We also couldn’t help ourselves with how picturesque City Center at Oyster Point looked and had to catch them biking through downtown, while Jon had our Movi hanging out out of the window of a moving car. After a few attempts around the block, we finally got the shot!
Next on our list for the day, our team split up to grab some b-roll footage of the NNPD Dispatch Center, the Victory Arch, the Ferguson Center at Christopher Newport University, and the Lions Gate Bridge. It was fun seeing so many different picturesque spots around Newport News in such a short amount of time! After meeting back up for a quick dinner all together, we headed to another location to film a traffic stop scene featuring our very own crew member culprit – Karla!
Filming this scene at night gave us a great opportunity to really showcase the police vehicle lights and have a cinematic effect. For a little inside information on how we got our shot- our incredible video lead, Chandler, suggested pouring water on the ground beneath the vehicle in order to really make the lights pop. We quickly put our plan into action so Glenn ran out to grab a few gallons of water and we began pouring. A couple of minutes later a homeowner in the area came out and was nervous we were dumping gasoline. Don’t worry- we set him straight with what was really going on, haha!
Day three was the most action packed and we loved it! We got to meet up with Sergeant Valero a.k.a. Officer X.O. who took us through his 20 years as a Police Officer with the NNPD. The coolest part? Learning about his motorcycle and all the excitement that has come with working his way up to become part of the NNPD Motorcycle Unit!
We then headed to a nearby elementary school where the NNPD K-9 Unit was giving a canine demonstration featuring a few of the dogs in their unit, a German Shepard named Havoc and a Bloodhound named PJ. The audience full of children and teachers loved it when one of the dogs attacked an officer in a bite suit, was then swung around while still latched onto the arm of the officer and finally sniff out drugs hidden on the front of a police vehicle. We even got lucky enough to snag MPO Stewart in between demonstrations for an interview. He explained to us how thrilling it is to be summoned to every big call happening in the area because of the support the dogs can offer other NNPD officers.
Next, we headed to the NNPD Forensic Services Unit, where we got to explore some staged evidence, see Forensics Investigator agents in action and hear from some of the female officers who are responsible for discovering what really happened in a crime. We were definitely feeling a little “Dexter-esque” while shooting some scenes using fingerprinting, ballistics, alternative light sources, and evidence databases.
Our next stop was to a staged warehouse, where we had multiple NNPD officers and detectives set up a break-in scene, show us what they would do once they got on scene, and what kind of interactions between departments would take place. We ended up placing different evidence markers around the warehouse and taping off the exterior like a realistic crime scene. It was so cool having each officer come in and act exactly as they would as if this was a real incident. Obviously we did a great job staging the scene because a news vehicle even tried to come by to get the scoop! Sorry guys – we’re just filming a recruitment video 🙂
Our last stop of the day was to the NNPD Gun Range located in Fort Eustis, where we met up with the Gun Range Master, Sergeant Bartels, who showed us a thing or two or three! As the day was coming to an end, we set up multiple cameras all over the range, while the Gun Range Master fired off rounds from just about every position and distance. We got some great slow-mo footage, along with him re-loading out of the holster and even pointing an unloaded gun in our direction- this was a little scary, but made for an breath-taking shot!
On our fourth and final day of shooting we headed into Virginia Beach to meet up with the NNPD Tactical Operations team at their regional training facility. We got to crash their eight hour training day to get some footage of one of their SWAT teams clearing a room we were stationed in, listen in on a few Crisis Negotiators negotiating a pre-planned situation, and talk to some of the most impressive officers the NNPD has to offer. These officers not only have responsibilities as a normal officer, but must also get around 40 hours a month of SWAT training. They were nothing short of incredible!
Over our four days of shooting, everywhere we turned we got to know officers who loved their jobs and the city they reside in, scenery that presented Newport News as the place to be, and different departments who each offered something fun and exciting for prospective recruits. We were so grateful that the Newport News Police Department gave us an inside look at how their department functions on a daily basis and we could not be more impressed. Thank you so much for having us, it was a blast!
Check back her for our first edit of the Newport News Police Department recruitment video coming soon!