‘I never expected this’: The story behind Middletown’s viral police lip sync video

Published: Thursday, August 29, 2019 @ 1:38 PM

Middletown’s video attracted the attention of country music group Lady Antebellum, whose song “Need You Now” is lip synced by Middletown Police (courtesy of the department and Average Joe Films).

A “goofy little video” has brought the City of Middletown and its police department national attention, which will see a big jolt next month.

Earlier this year, the police department was featured in a lip sync video performing country music group Lady Antebellum’s hit song, “Need You Now.” The video was viewed more than 10 million times, and it recently was selected as one to be featured next month on an one-hour CBS special, “Lip Sync to the Rescue,” hosted by Cedric the Entertainer.

“Lip Sync to the Rescue” is an interactive countdown special where viewers vote for their favorite video of performances featuring first responders lip-syncing to hit music, a trend that began with the Lip Sync Challenge, the network said.

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MORE: There’s still time to vote for Middletown police in this national competition for a CBS show spot

During the show, the Top 10 videos will be revealed in front of an audience of first responders, family and friends. Two videos will advance to the live final vote.

Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw said his office is working with the Middletown City School District to hold a community watch party Sept. 9 at Middletown High School.

“I think it’s incredible,” Muterspaw said after being told about his department’s selection to be featured on the show. “It’s awesome for the community.”

Why a woman in France bought doughnuts for Middletown police

The video was shot by Average Joe Films and produced and shot by Middletown native Joseph Cox, 25, with assistance from Haydn “Wolfie” Koeller, 24. Cox said the video was shot in about six hours and his company donated its services. Shooting began at 10 a.m., and 12 hours later, the video was finished.

Cox said he wanted to get the video posted quickly because he thought the “fad would be over” in two days. Within the first 24 hours, the video was viewed 2 million times and Lady Antebellum was so impressed the band invited members of the police department to attend its concert at Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati.

“I never expected this,” Cox said of the national attention. “I figured we’d shoot a goofy little video and make it humorous.”

Muterspaw said officers wanted to make the community laugh.

“It’s amazing how something so goofy could turn out that big,” he said. “I’m kind of stunned.”

The officers featured in the video said they enjoyed the experience and were surprised by its popularity.

“It was a lot of fun and everything was on the flip,” said Officer Patrick Glassburn, the two-doughnut-eating officer wearing a cowboy hat in the video. “My thought was do something fun and exciting. I’m really surprised at how far it went and how far it continues to go.”

He said Shelley Meehan, communications supervisor, came up with the idea to do the video. Glassburn said he was encouraged to eat doughnuts with both hands by Cox.

MORE: Middletown police were just trying to connect with their community on Facebook. Then they went national.

Officer Chris Alfrey, one of the city’s school resource officers, called himself “one of the biggest comedians” in the department. He was shown peering through the window of Central Pastry with a forlorn face once he realized the shop was closed.

He said Vera Slamka, owner of Central Pastry, used Windex and paper towels to clean the window.

“Everyone loved it, even the people I arrested,” Alfrey said. “After I arrested this guy who was upset and crying, he said, ‘I loved your video.’”

Slamka said the video was “very positive” for the city, and she noted one woman from France, after watching the video on Facebook, sent Euros to her shop to buy doughnuts for the officers.

She loved watching Alfrey.

“So funny the look on his face when he was trying to get it,” she said. “He looked like a kid. I love that guy.”

MORE: Country stars, Middletown police of lip sync video fame meet before Cincinnati concert

Maj. David Birk was featured in a scene looking at his phone that displayed a picture of a doughnut and the doughnut’s phone number.

“I’m very emotional when it comes to doughnuts,” he joked.

Another officer featured, Detective Brandon Highley, said it’s hard to go anywhere without being recognized because of the video. Highley is shown wearing a suit. Then he loosens his tie, and at the demand of Muterspaw, runs his fingers through his well groomed hair, his trademark.

“That was vandalism right there,” Highley said with a smile.

He said the video brought some officers “out of their shells” and showed the “human side of us.”