GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Gainesville police are giving us a bit of a break from all the bad news. What began as a couple of Facebook selfies has turned into a viral craze.
"We figured that he'd probably put it online but we didn't know there was going to be this kind of response," said Ofc. Michael Hamill, one of the three male officers whose photos have gone viral.
It started with a single photo, with a simple caption that read, "...part of the night crew getting ready to do some work." But it wasn't long until they were recognized for something other than their hard work.
"I was cutting down trees and my phone started blowing up, going off, and they said 'you see you're on Facebook,'" said Ofc. Bylynn Hatcher. "And when I went and checked Facebook and seen the comments I just literally started dying laughing."
Now known as the "Hot Cops," they got some wild comments from people all over the country, earning more than 400,000 likes combined.
"It feels great, just trying to stay humble, that's the big thing," said Ofc. Dan Rengering.
Other agencies have come out with images of their own. One from Alachua County Sheriff's Office showed a rescue including the hashtags "service over selfies" and "more than just a pretty face."
"This is something that I didn't expect," said Ofc. Hatcher. "I was just out there protecting and serving the community at a hard time."
But with mostly positive feedback, GPD says they're using the opportunity to give back. They decided to come out with a calendar and donate the proceeds to Hurricane Irma victims.
"We signed up to help people," Ofc. Dan Rengering said. "So the fact that we're able to do it not only with our job but some extra curriculars, it's an honor to be honest."