‘We’re coming for you’: Controversial anti-drug video puts Florida sheriff’s office in hot seat
LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — The goal of most law enforcement agencies is to keep the community alert to potential dangers, but when the sheriff’s office is fighting internet memes to win the public’s attention, sometimes officers have to get a little creative — and hardcore!
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office in Florida has received an onslaught of mixed feedback after the department released a video Friday promoting its undercover anti-drug task force. Some argue the video resembles recent ISIS videos and makes the officers look like ‘bad guys.’
Meanwhile, others applaud the sheriff’s office for evoking fear among drug dealers and encourage other cities to do the same.
Sheriff Peyton C. Grinnell stands at a podium with a stern face as four armed, and equally serious, officers surround him in the video. The undercover agents, wearing black mask and tactical gear, stand at attention while Grinnell speaks straight into the camera.
“Over the last month of so, I’ve had several phone calls from citizens in this county concerned about the number of overdoses related to heroin,” Grinnell says.
His announcement has all the usual elements: confirmation the office is working to combat illegal drug use, encouragement for residents to alert authorities of suspicious activities and confidence his officers are determined to keep Lake County’s neighborhoods clean.
And then, the video takes an interesting turn. The camera zooms in on Grinnell and intense music slips into the background.
“To the dealers who are pushing this poison, I have a message for you: we’re coming for you,” Grinnell says. “To the dealers I say enjoy looking over your shoulders, constantly wondering if today’s the day we come for you. Enjoy trying to sleep tonight, wondering if tonight is the night, our SWAT team blows your front door off the hinges.”
In case the message was lost, Grinnell repeats, “we are coming for you.”
The public seems to have a polarized view about the video as shown by the Facebook comments. There were numerous responses supporting the sheriff’s efforts.
But there was also immense backlash that suggested the video was overly violent and ironic.
On the other hand, several commentators criticized the sheriff’s office for missing the true culprit all together. Most blamed the pharmaceutical companies and identified those impacted by drugs as victims.
Of course, the comment section also had its fair share of jokers.
Whether misguided or appropriate, the video has pulled a tremendous response, reaching more than 1 million views and over 3,000 comments in counting.