Stars of the EPD Lip-Sync Challenge: Detective Sophia Syed, Detective Amanda Wright, Commander Melissa Sacluti, Detective Corrie Svendsen, Victim Advocate Kelli Nelson, Detective Tosha Wilson and Animal Warden Jason Pounds.Photo by Heidi Randhava

In recent months, the lip sync challenge has swept across law enforcement agencies nationwide.

Police departments have posted videos of officers lip-syncing to pop songs on social media and challenging other departments to do the same.

On Oct. 31, the Evanston Police Department answered the challenge from Lincolnwood Police Chief Jay Parrott with the release of a video that includes Evanston residents.

“This is not just the Police Department’s lip sync challenge. When you watch the video, you’ll see there is a lot of community involvement and engagement. This belongs to the Evanston community as a whole,” said Evanston Police Commander Ryan Glew.

Officer Amanda Wright knew from the start that she wanted to be part of a scene that features officers dancing with the Evanston Township High School PomKits in Beardsley Gymnasium.

Officer Wright, an ETHS alumnus, said she wanted to be a PomKit when she was in high school, but ended up playing basketball instead.

“So this was my time to be a PomKit. You can’t do a video here in Evanston without incorporating some part of Evanston Township High School,” said Officer Wright.

Locations unique to Evanston add to the video’s broad appeal. Community members joined officers in the newly renovated Fountain Square for “Let’s Get It Started” by the Black Eyed Peas.

There is impressive aerial footage at Clark Street Beach of the EPD Special Operations Group reciting lyrics from “Whatever It Takes” by Imagine Dragons.

The lakefront near Northwestern University’s campus is the setting for a must-see rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

In a creative twist, the lip sync video, which can be viewed on the RoundTable’s homepage (at the bottom) features a “mannequin challenge,” with members of the EPD frozen in motion at the Police Department.

Viewers who watch closely will see details such as the image on an Evanston officer’s cell phone of Lincolnwood Chief Parrott challenging Evanston.

Many members of the EPD worked with Chief Parrott when he served as Evanston’s Deputy Chief of Police, before taking the new post in Lincolnwood.

At the end of the film, Evanston Police Chief Rich Eddington challenges the Oak Park Police Department. However, it was Commander Dennis Leaks who had the last word, with an idea from Evanston Detective Tosha Wilson.

“We’d also like to challenge the cast of NBC’s Chicago PD. Since you act like the police, step up to the challenge,” said Cmdr. Leaks in closing.

The Evanston lip sync challenge video is engaging, witty, purposeful, and above all, memorable. .

The production was an all-volunteer effort. The video was directed by Sergeant Charlotte Hart, with Detective Rebecca Niziolek as executive director.

Local filmmakers, including Evanston Photographic Studios and L’evated Photography, assisted with production.

Heidi Randhava is an award winning reporter who has a deep commitment to community engagement and service. She has written for the Evanston RoundTable since 2016.