INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - They're the Laurel and Hardy of the first responder world. Two Central Indiana public information officers; one state police officer, one firefighter, using what some call a budding “bromance” to reach the masses.
Wayne Township Fire Captain Mike Pruitt and Indiana State Police Sergeant John Perrine's comedy and social media have become vehicles for education.
“We’re at this point in society where in public safety social media isn’t going away. So I think you’ve got to find a way to embrace it and effectively use it,” Perrine said.
The basis for the duo’s partnership started back in February, when Perrine made a short video sarcastically detailing that modern cars now come with a “unique feature” known as the turn signal.
“And all he did was use his police car and his turn signal and delivered a very effective message and I was like I want to do that too,” Pruitt said.
Over the next few months the two built a name for themselves using a slew of comedic videos to educate the public on common dangers.
The videos covered topics such as hot car dangers, a day at the state fair, even solar eclipse viewing safety. The pair has also tackled serious topics such as the move over law and missing persons.
“I think that the comedy we incorporate generates some attention, and that attention generated from our comedy often translates into attention for when we have a serious message as well,” Perrine said.
Pruitt and Perrine’s work is turning into social media gold. For their thousands of followers on Twitter, the combination of pictures, videos, and back and forth ribbing provides daily amusement. And just recently they launched their own shared Facebook page called “Johnny Law and Fire Mike.”
A YouTube channel is even in the works.
While the two are certainly having a good time, they’ll be the first to tell you their goal has and always will be to promote public safety. For both men, it’s a calling, so at the end of the day it’s all that matters.
“If we can get a few people to take action based on what we’re recommending, then we’ve achieved our jobs as public information officers,” Pruitt said.