Police officers are best when traveling in the community and getting to know their neighborhoods and the people who live in them. In Buffalo, New York, two officers, Michael Norwood and Mo Badger, have taken this principle a little further. They engage in a unique way in Buffalo neighborhoods – singing.
An unlikely couple was immediately clicked
When they were selected to work together, Norwood and Badger did not seem to be the most likely two persons to band together with their police. Norwood is a former professional basketball player from downtown Buffalo, who played around the world until he broke his foot. Badger was a professional gospel singer and son of a church pastor. Norwood is 6.5 meters high while Badger is about a foot short. But both wanted to serve the youth and the community. When they met as partners with the Buffalo police, things just worked.
The two started joking together in their meeting room, and Badger helped Norwood as they practiced to feel more comfortable singing. The other members of their district encouraged their efforts. Over time, the two took their songs from the station and onto the street. They were welcomed with open arms.
The Buffalo Community answers
Norwood and Badger use singing to reach anyone who will listen, but especially like to get in touch with teens and show them some kind of police officer who defies stereotypes and is more accessible. Since they started singing, it's easier for people to see them as human beings, not just badges. This is no trifle: Traditionally there was a gap between the police and the neighborhoods where the police are not as trustworthy as they would like it to be. Maybe the partners have found a way to change the dynamics.
Community members love singing and do not hesitate to make inquiries. They have generally found that as they sing, they seem to break down barriers between them and the members of the community, and people have a different attitude when interacting with each other. They even received a song request from a man they stopped for a routine traffic stop. They had to apply for the driver's license before they started serenading.
Couple went nationally after being spotted in a restaurant
When they became known in the community for their voices, they began to sing whether they were on duty or not. When they were sung in a local restaurant, the video became viral. They were eventually covered by local and national media and even appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show.
Fans loved to watch the cops laughing and dancing on Ellen's set and releasing a version of their favorite song, The Temptations my girl, The video had more than 650,000 views and the live audience cheered and clapped to the music as the couple smiled and sang.
Start of a non-profit organization to connect youth and police officers
Officers Norwood and Badger want to expand their relationship with the community. In 2016, she and another officer set up a nonprofit organization COPSS (Children overcome sports stereotypes of the police), which aim to help young people connect with officials in their community.
The organization is dedicated to contacting children through sports and mentoring programs. They want to be sure that children have good experiences and can connect with police officers who can become mentors and role models for them. They hope that when they connect with children in their youth, both in their lives and in the way they see the policemen they meet. With this approach, they hope for a better future for the children and the whole community, We wish them every success with this worthwhile goal!