by Officer Kyle Roder. Never let an opportunity go to waste. This weekend, the National Football League (NFL) is relaxing its strict uniform policy by allowing individual players to highlight the charities and causes that are personally important to them through the visual canvas of customizing their cleats. The “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign uses a piece of the uniform to show the world who these professional athletes are under their uniforms.
Does this sound familiar? Strict uniform policy? A professional career trying to break stereotypes by focusing on the positive impacts of those who make up the career? Exactly. Never let an opportunity go to waste…and don’t reinvent the wheel.
As I watched the promos for the “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign and the #MyCauseMyCleats hashtag displayed and discussed on Monday Night Football, my social media mind immediately turned the powerful NFL’s campaign into an opportunity for us, police officers, to use their marketing to join them in showcasing our causes as well. We may not be millionaires and shoe companies won’t create custom boots for our officers, but like the NFL players we all have a passion and a cause that makes our world a better place.
Upon seeing the upcoming campaign, I reached out to our officers to hear their stories, some I had known and some I just newly learned. I found that everyone has a story; you just need to find it. Instead of custom cleats, we simply used window chalk markers (easily wipes off) to write the cause on the officers’ boots. Combined with a short narrative and a photo of the officer engaged in the cause, we hope that this is will prove to be an easy, yet valuable social media experience that helps further connect our officers with our community. These are the stories we should be sharing every day.
On Sunday, before the early game kickoffs I will post a simple video proudly showing the causes that drive our officers, displayed on their boots. Additionally, throughout the following week I will post each of the officers’ stories individually. Each of the officers featured have a close connection to their cause. Each example is a real example:
Be The Match: The National Bone Marrow Donor Program
Officer Dominic Meincke has twice answered the call to save the life of someone whom he has never met through bone marrow donations.
Ronald McDonald House Charities
Officer Bridget Coit and her family found RMHC to be a blessing when complications forced her newborn daughter into an extended stay in a hospital hours from home.
Bob’s House for Dogs
Travis Quella and his family started a rescue shelter for aging dogs after the death of their beloved family dog, Bob.
Chief Jerry Staniszewski’s son has been affected by epilepsy since he was young.
To make this bigger than us at the Eau Claire Police Department, I reached out to some of my social media friends (that’s what social media is all about, right?) to expand this across law enforcement, across the country (and maybe beyond). I love what the NFL is doing with this campaign. My hope is that by leveraging the power of the NFL’s #MyCauseMyCleats hashtag, law enforcement can join the NFL players in showing how we are all part of the same community. We invite you to join us!