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Talking points: Cops and Club Photos — offensive or good PR?

Of all the controversies we’ve heard related to local nightclub events, this is a new one. Some local police officers and firefighters are facing scrutiny after posing with bikini-clad models outside Aldo’s Nightclub last Wednesday during a car show.

The story broke over the weekend thanks to KSEE 24. Here’s their report:

As you would expect, every news outlet in town (including The Bee) latched onto the story, particularly after the Police Chief Jerry Dyer and City Manager Mark Scott announced the incident was being investigated. Meanwhile, the story has spread all the way to Boston TV.

The pics were the work of ClubFlys, a site that has been documenting nightlife events in town for years — and is no stranger to racy photos.

Reading The Bee’s story, one quote that struck me was from ClubFlys founder Sal Hernandez, who said:

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“I know some people are old-fashioned and think they disrespected the uniform. But in my opinion, it was good public relations for the city.”

I suppose that’s one way of looking at it. In that way, it sort of reminds me of all the controversy surrounding the MMA fights in Woodward Park.

To one segment of the population, it’s unthinkable and reprehensible. GuIdS.St.8.JPG To another segment, it’s no big deal.

Online commenting — fresnobee.com has 130+ currently — has reflected that split.

(Sidenote: Much like the MMA story, I’m willing to bet that very few people, if anyone, was upset about this until a reporter showed up to ask if they were offended).

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It’s worth noting that the firefighters obviously weren’t fighting a fire when all this was happening, and the police officers were off-duty, hired for the night by event organizers to keep an eye on things (which is fairly common at events). And it wasn’t like the cops were pretending to handcuffs the models or spanking them or anything else that might make you think a low-budget porno was about to start filming. They were standing there, stoic, as per the norm.

So what says you, Beehivers: Are you offended by this? Do you think it’s a good PR strategy for the local PD and firefighters? Is it a total non-issue?

Furthermore, should those in the public safety business be allowed to take pictures with the public AT ALL? Or just the ones wearing a predetermined number of clothing items covering an minimum percentage of their body?

[photos: Sal Hernandez / Club Flys]

PREVIOUSLY ON THE BEEHIVE
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Responses to "Talking points: Cops and Club Photos — offensive or good PR?"

Ashley says:

Another way for Fresno to stay classy. Way to go!

tigger says:

Mostly just bad judgment on the cops and firefighters part. Bet they never thought it would blow up like this.
Cops just need to act like they are on camera for public display all the time and things would be a lot better.
I’d rather see these photos than this one though (allegedly dozing Fresno PD officer)

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.89766487914.104091.81356192914#!/photo.php?fbid=10150272144707915&set=a.89766487914.104091.81356192914&type=1&theater

Chango Martinez says:

Yawn. Cops and firefighters are considered to be hyper-masculine figures. They shoot guns and dash into flaming buildings. So, Fresno’s finest posed with some scantily clad women. Big deal.

In New York city, the firefighters make beefcake calendars. Check out the fire hose on the last dude!

http://youtu.be/mHz53_KRQSs

(from about :39 to :50)

I will say though that Mike Oz’s stoic/norm interpretation of the pics is a bit flaccid. All of the photos seem to lean towards straight men wet dreams… Photo #1 as they clutch their phallic weapons and gear… Photo #2 as they stumble across a damsel in distress heel-and-bikini woman in the middle of the night. And especially Photo #3 with the lone firefighter and his hot harem: shoulders back, chin up and booty out!

lilmama559 says:

they should have got some hot buff cops and firefighters.. other than that i dont see anything wrong with the pics…

Hak says:

This really shouldn’t be as big of a deal as it has become. As Mike mentioned, it isnt like they were spanking them.

mdub420 says:

What made me sick to my stomach was not any of the photos taken with the cops or firefighters. It was the photo in the catalog where the finest baby momma in a swimsuit was taking a photo with a guy who has tattoos on his face and neck!! I swear these guys continue to get all the women.

its a professionalism issue, the uniform respresents the department; not the individual, I am ultimately appaled by the Sergeant in uniform who shouldve stepped up in his leadership role and stopped the photography of officers taking place, his subordinates are a direct refelction of him and his acctions

If they werent in uniform would this have been an issue, No

Those in the public eye must maintain a higher set of standards and this shows poor judgement and relfects on all he officers NOT just those in the pics

Cheen_Gao says:

Hold up. Is that a dude with the bandana on in picture 33?

By the way, these cops are morons for posing in the picture without getting approval beforehand.

Chuy says:

Wild pigs on patrol finally fresno politicians sees how law enforcement works in this town… good pix by the way

Salvador says:

How about this…
‎25 years ago, Patrol Officers pose with a bikini clad model to promoter Sober Grad. Controversial? http://twitpic.com/5adn2h

matthew reade o'donnell says:

If it’s okay for a person dressed in jeans and a t-shirt to take a picture with some cops, it should be okay for a girl in a bikini. That is provided that it is acceptable for the girl to be dressed in said bikini to begin with. My problem is with the cops being in uniform when not on duty. If they are there as security, in uniform, they should be on the clock. They should not be hoeing on the side. Yeah, I said it.

billy pilgrim says:

What I am really interested in has nothing to do with the pictures. I am curious about the payment for off duty officers working as security. Does the officer get all the money, the city part of it, the police department? It is common everywhere for off duty officers to make extra income by moonlighting as security. I have never seen them use department issued police gear, that is a conflict of interest. These officers are using full dress and car paid for by our tax dollars to make extra income.

tinman says:

I was there for this event. its no worse than anything else the media spins. a person was shot in front of the million elephant the following evening but did we hear anything about that on the news??? I think not. if your gna pick and chose I personally thinks its all b.s.

Donald Munro says:

This is a stupid, media-generated controversy. But you know what? Stupid, media-generated controversies pay off. (The Sunday story in The Bee was by far the best read that day.) Still, from a professional standpoint, the most embarrassed player in this non-debate should be the person who made the call at KSEE-24 to make it the “top story” of the hour.

The women weren’t naked. The police and firefighters weren’t doing anything obscene. After these so-called “internal investigations” are completed, what will be the result? No community photos with peace officers, period? Because that’s the only way to ensure no one will ever be offended by a potential photo. Just think of all the objections that uptight people could raise: How dare the cops pose with a bunch of young black (gang!) members? Or a bunch of transvestites? Or undocumented immigrants? Or women exposing their bare heads? (Right, that would only happen in a different culture. Or would it?)

What if the cops had been at the Island Water Park and a bunch of bare-chested young men asked to pose with them while doing some silly flexing? Would that have provoked anyone? Would it have made the evening news? Can anyone else see how sexist all this is?

The fascinating thing about this incident is that it all transpired without anyone being truly upset, other than a couple of folks goaded into it by a TV reporter scrambling to fill air time. Yet the “controversy” marches on of its own accord, gaining fuel from being, well, controversial. Welcome to the world in which private moments get made public in a flash.

Betsey says:

As a PR professional, I say it’s bad PR for both the police and fire departments. I’m sure their communications directors have worked incredibly hard to create a relationship with it’s publics that aren’t centered on tattooed chicks in bikinis.

Yeah, it’s not the best image to be putting out there, but it’s definitely not BAD PR either.

In my opinion, the police department (especially) is not a favorite among the people who frequent these clubs, so it could be seen as GREAT PR for that specific audience who thinks these pictures are bad ass.

Ya win some ya lose some. Worthy of this much media attention? No way.

b2burns says:

Much ado over nothing. C’mon, media, grow up!

GEORGE OHAN says:

We should be happy that our boys were professional enough to not sexually harass the women, make lewd comments, or be charged with some other non-sense. “Scantily clad women” and “Higher Standards” – C’mon is that necessary? The girls looked like college students trying to make a few extra bucks, and the cops look like their community relations skills are on point for once. What’s the big deal? If this were a carwash and the women were wearing the same thing, would their be a huge stink over it?

anonymous says:

OMG…with all the real CRIME going on everywhere, leave it to an ostrich with their head planted firmly in the sand to make a BIG DEAL out of some pictures! Do we not have MORE IMPORTANT ISSUES to concern ourselves with? It’s a waste of taxpayers money to investigate and try and make an EXAMPLE of these HERO’S, who bust their butt and lay their lives on the line for everyone of us 24 hrs a Day! They are human and clearly felt they did nothing wrong…so GET OVER IT ALREADY! The pics were great and it looked like everyone had a good time! Don’t get where the BIG DEAL is here.

anonymous says:

People who live in ‘Glass’ houses should never throw stones! There is such a double standard
going on here…”Do as I say Not as I do?” Poor judgement is not exclusive to a UNIFORM or PUBLIC OFFICE! There is plenty of POOR judgement to go around.

Claire L says:

I’m such a lefty wing-nut feminist and I have to say… who cares? They were off duty, the girls are over 18 ( I hope)….who cares. I agree with the comment that we have more important things to worry about.

Jennifer says:

Seriously? Total non-issue. I agree with Mike that the people who say they were offended by it were probably not offended until someone showed them the pic and asked what they thought.

Lindsay says:

Why is it inappropriate? I am not really sure what the cops did wrong?? I don’t find this offensive, moreover, I am not sure why it would be… am I missing something?

Rick Mirigian says:

There is 0 issue here, its great they took the pictures, nothing crossed the line and like MMA and every other thing that makes no sense it falls right in line with them. Lets people know our officers are public people and those girls could have been circus clowns or farmers and it would be the same thing!How can those pictures offend someone? Matter a fact how can anyone offended by that turn thier TV on at night or walk outside thier house! Im going to organize a Pics for a “kids charity” event and let people line up and pay $5 for a picture with an officer and give $4 to charity from each picture :)

DavidMogen says:

So, uh, Betsey……BAD PR or GOOD PR? You state both.

My opinion, a nothinburger. Sounds like they were very professional–cops/fire–and spent a few moments spreading cheer. I’m not sure Aldo’s is on my social calendar, but whatever a girl’s gotta do.

cory zamora says:

..omg, i was screaming at the tv !…so, the peoples church cops and firefighters went to ALDOS…HEY IT’S ALDOS!!!! they went to another culture and did what the romans do, and now perhaps they can get further with these groups.
i am happy seeing them trying to fit into those they serve and protect!!!

NettieRee says:

This is contract policing. The business has reimbursed the department for the cost of the police being there. The major shopping centers do this every weekend and most of the major venues require it for having an event at their venue. This is not tax-payer dollars being used.

NettieRee says:

Amen, Donald

Migz says:

It’s not a big deal. Anybody that has a problem with these pictures are just hating. Ksee24 could have been covering better topics.

mdub420 says:

I “heart” haterz LOL!!

jaurique says:

the real sad part is these girls call themselves models? these are average if not below girls and for sure not model quality!! Im embarrassed that people will now think this is what we Fresnan’s think are hot chicks!!
Today girls think if they put on a swimsuit, get tattoo’s and fake boobs they can be models… Like my grandfather always said “if your going to get caught, get caught with something that is worth it” and these girls aren’t worth it!!

mdub420 says:

that’s real talk right there!!

Roger G says:

This is a outrage! After I saw the pictures I was sick to my stomach. How dare people take pictures with women completely covering their naughty bits! If im going to get worked up over something I want full nudity damn it.