WPD’s Scott Boecker connects with kids by landing 360 at skate park
Scott Boecker never dreamed that his efforts to positively influence kids would make him an overnight celebrity.
The patrol officer with the Wyoming Police Department found himself the subject of national television and radio shows last week after unknowingly starring in a YouTube video that went viral.
It all started in late August during a visit to the city’s new Goodview Avenue Skatepark. Boecker stopped by the park not to look for trouble but to build goodwill with the youth at the popular destination.
“I went out there just to talk to the kids,” he said. “As an officer I’m trying to go out there and do more community policing. We get to know them, and they know us, so if something does happen, they come tell us.”
What the four-year department veteran did not count on was his competitive juices firing up. Upon observing tricks done by the youth, he mentioned that he could replicate them. The kids challenged him, little knowing they were dealing with a policeman who races BMX in his spare time.
“I said, ‘Give me a bike,’ and about five kids threw them at me,” Boecker said. “Next thing I knew the phones were coming out.”
On the now-famous video, Boecker completes a 360 jump on his third attempt, sending the youth into hysterics.
Boecker, 45, said he surprised himself by pulling off the trick.
“I race BMX, I don’t do tricks,” he said. “The kids wanted to see what I could do and so I went out there and gave them a show.”
It was a feel-good story, to be sure, but one Boecker never expected to reach outside the city limits. Suddenly, around Sept. 5, the video took off, garnering more than 200,000 views in one day, thanks to a spot on the Yahoo news website. By last Tuesday, the YouTube clip had been watched 600,000 times and was featured that night on Keith Olbermann’s show on ESPN2. WCCO interviewed Boecker and aired his story the following night.
Boecker returned to the ramps at Goodview Park on Friday for the skate park’s ribbon-cutting. He and several youth took turns showing off moves to a crowd numbering around 100.
After his run, out of the spotlight, Boecker “ticketed” a couple of kids with a coupon as a reward for wearing helmets.
One of the 582 comments on YouTube summed up Boecker’s work.
“It’s like the old neighborhood cops, getting to know the kids; that’s how you build trust and reduce crime,” the commenter wrote. “This cop is earning every penny of his pay and is having some fun, too.”
Above: Officer Boecker’s viral YouTube video. Below: He returns to the skate park for its grand opening on Friday, Sept. 13.