As Floridians waited in dread for Hurricane Irma on Sunday evening, the Gainesville Police Department posted photographs on Facebook of officers preparing for the night ahead.
One particular selfie of three Gainesville officers was, well, easy on the eyes. And in the photo’s comments, the ladies of northern Florida did not hold back.
“I feel faint … send help!”
“I feel safer just looking at this picture.”
“I can’t believe how many women are objectifying these poor, fine, young, strong, handsome, brave, sexy, delicious, virile, ovulation-inducing, mouth-watering, beefy….. I can’t remember where I was going with this,” one comment read.
“Do a calender, add puppies and I’m pretty sure we can rebuild Texas and Florida.”
The photo clearly drew interest in the days that followed, circulating far beyond Gainesville. But it was the endless stream of flirtatious comments that brought welcome comedic relief to those facing evacuations, power outages and flood damage from Irma. By Wednesday night, the post had been shared or liked more than half a million times.
“These comments are cracking me up. need some good laughter after being evacuated for almost a week.”
“These comments have honestly made me really laugh for the first time since Irma hit us (in Orlando). Thank you to all the funny ladies on here.”
As the officers’ fans gushed, the Gainesville Police Department happily played along.
“We are dying with the comments. You’ve actually made our chief blush with some of them,” the department wrote in a Tuesday update on the original selfie post.
The public asked, and the department obliged: “There WILL be a calendar,” it wrote. It added that the staff would try to put one together quickly, and donate the funds raised to Hurricane Irma recovery efforts in Florida.
It also added an important PSA for interested suitors: Two of the men in the photo, Officers Nordman and Hamill, are indeed taken. And “MRS. Nordman and MRS. Hamill have also enjoyed knowing how millions of women are going crazy over their husbands.”
However, it added: “We can confirm that Officer Rengering (far right with the amazing hair) IS SINGLE.”
“On another note, Officer Rengering is being placed into Cougar Prey Protective Care, similar to the witness protection program for his safety,” the post read. “Please do not call 9-1-1 and request this group respond to your ‘incident.’
Gainesville Police continued to post photos of some of its finest — men and women.
“I’m about to quit being a firefighter, and come become a police officer down there my God! She’s beautiful!” one comment read on a photograph of a female officer.
“It’s raaaaaining men. Halllllllljejuuuuuuuaaaaaaa,” one woman wrote. “I’m convinced this police department is fake and this is actually an ad for Magic Mike 3,” said another.
“What is in the water down there??? Goodness!”
“Sweet baby Jesus … I broke the law, arrest me officer.”
It was not the first time the Gainesville Police Department has gone viral. In January of last year, a Facebook video spread widely of a Gainesville police officer responding to a noise complaint about a group of people playing basketball on the street. Instead of yelling at the youths, the officer decided to play with them. The video even got a response from basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, who paid a surprise visit to the Gainesville Police Department to praise the officer, Bobby White.
The spokesman behind the social media magic is Ben Tobias, who made news this summer for criticizing comments from President Trump about police brutality.
The Gainesville “hot cops” were so popular, another Florida police department followed their lead. On Tuesday, the Sarasota Police Department posted a photo of a group of its officers, posing around a rescue vehicle, as if for the cover of a calendar.
“Gainesville Police Department has nothing on us,” the post read, with a winky face emoji.
“ATTENTION LADIES! Sarasota Police Department sent backup to this post!” the Gainesville Police Department then shared.
“So, Sarasota Police Department evidently has some guys headed out to help with rising floodwaters. If they happen to stir the Interweb like we did earlier … they’re going to need rescues themselves! Not bad, SPD. They don’t have awesome hair … but they’ll do.”
All over again, the Internet went wild.
“Arrested in two cities in one night can be accomplished if done correctly,” one woman commented.
Amber Ferguson contributed to this report.