CORAL SPRINGS, FL – Across the nation, many police and fire departments are refusing to let the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic rob children of their birthdays, so they are doing drive-by birthday celebration parades.
Coral Springs police are doing something a little different.
Instead of driving through neighborhoods with lights flashing and sirens wailing, they are creating videos of police officers offering personalized birthday wishes and sending them to children and their families virtually.
So far, the department has produced and sent 10 videos.
The city decided to take the video approach as a precaution to keeping children safely away from the officers, said Lauren Kearney, social media/community relations specialist for the Coral Springs Police Department. The thinking is also that videos make the birthday moments last longer than drive-by events.
“Children get excited, and they run up to officers and want to touch them,” Kearney said. “By doing videos, we can all still practice social distancing.”
In the videos, officers take turns giving birthday wishes as they sit in their cars or stand next to them. Some videos feature the students’ school resource officers, telling them: “We look forward to seeing you soon.”
The birthday celebration videos, intended for ages 3 to 13, are part of the police department’s broader strategy in getting children to understand – and respect – the work of police officers in their communities, she said.
The videos will soon feature city firefighters and paramedics as well.
“We’re human, too, and our officers understand how important birthdays are for kids. We get it,” she said.
The police department is willing to do as many videos as it can, and officials need at least three days to prepare each video, she said.
Anyone interested in having the police create a children’s birthday video can call: 954-344-1831.