On Sunday, the Gainesville Police Department posted a photo on Facebook of three policemen on Hurricane Irma duty. “Officers Nordman, Hamill and Rengering…part of the night crew getting ready to do some work,” read the post, which was subsequently inundated with 170,000 reactions, 118,000 shares, and 74,000 comments on the men’s appearance.
“I’m single and on the lookout for a good man. Holler at your girl Officer Rengering! Lol,” wrote one woman. Added another, “You know we have a police shortage here. Think we can get them to apply?” And: “Our cops don’t look like this.” And those were the tame comments. As commenter Marie Evans put it, “I just came here for the comments, and you ladies did not let me down.”
On Tuesday, the police department updated its post with the following message: “1. We are dying with the comments. You’ve actually made our chief blush with some of them. 2. MRS. Nordman and MRS. Hamill have also enjoyed knowing how millions of women are going crazy over their husbands. 3. We can confirm that Officer Rengering (far right with the amazing hair) IS SINGLE. 4. On another note, Officer Rengering is being placed into Cougar Prey Protective Care, similar to the witness protection program for his safety. 5. Please do not call 9-1-1 and request this group respond to your ‘incident.’ 6. There WILL be a calendar.”
“I often remind the officers to send me photos and videos showing their work, and this particular group of men threw me a selfie, so I posted it,” Officer Ben Tobias of the Gainesville Police Department tells Yahoo Beauty, adding that by Monday, the photo had more or less exploded online, prompting Rengering, 27, to ask, “Now, how viral did this go?”
Internet fame is not new for Tobias, who manages the department’s Facebook page. In June, when President Trump said in a Suffolk Country, N.Y., speech that police officers shouldn’t be “too nice” when transporting handcuffed suspects, Tobias tweeted, “I’m a cop. I do not agree with or condone @POTUS remarks today on police brutality. Those that applauded and cheered should be ashamed.” His tweet received 336,000 likes, 110,000 retweets, and lots of love for his management style.
I'm a cop.
I do not agree with or condone @POTUS remarks today on police brutality.
Those that applauded and cheered should be ashamed.
— Ben Tobias (@GPDBenTobias) July 28, 2017
And in 2016, the police department made headlines when a local resident filed a complaint about children playing basketball “too loudly” outside, and rather than penalizing them, the responding officer joined the game, an event that was captured in a police dashcam video with 560,000 views. “We’re going to let kids be kids,” the department explained in a Facebook post. “We are going to focus on the ones that commit crimes. #HoopsNotCrime.”
The best part: The officer challenged the boys to a rematch in their neighborhood — and brought along NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal.
Understanding the fleeting nature of fame — especially regarding an eligible bachelor — Tobias sprang into action, pitching the concept of a police calendar to his chief. “He was on board because the proceeds are going toward Hurricane Irma recovery,” says Tobias.
“Now I’m in the position as a married, middle-aged guy to tap guys for the calendar,” he says. “It will be professional and tasteful.”
After all, he’s simply answering the call of duty. “The women of the internet have spoken,” says Tobias. “We can’t let them down.”
Read more from Yahoo Style + Beauty:
- CNN anchor to ‘chunky’ reporter: ‘Nothing wrong with having a little curve’
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