FIVE MINUTES WITH...Officer Brad Uptmore
Jun 01, 2018 09:19AM
● By Ashley Madonna
Whether you check Facebook for traffic updates or have push notifications for your friends’ latest Instagram photos, social media is an instrumental part of our community’s day to day. And for staying up-to-date on what’s happening around town, following @SouthlakePublicSafety on Facebook is a must. The man behind the page, Southlake’s Public Information Officer Brad Uptmore, has already made a splash since taking the reins in January. He’s adding a sense of style to their everyday posts by integrating eye-catching media like comical videos and trending memes. He may be most well-known for asking Crystal Ladawn Finley to, “GURL, CALL ME!” in his digital open letter to the person of interest that brought 9,700 new Facebook followers to the page within 24 hours. But the man behind the screen knows his sassy comments are doing some good for Southlake citizens.
I DON’T HAVE THE BEST SUPERHERO ORIGIN STORY … but back in 2006, I was obsessed with Jack Bauer and 24. I had just moved back from Illinois after an ill-fated romance and a job refinancing subprime mortgages, which left me feeling not so good about myself. I felt like I needed to find a satisfying career in which I could help people and feel good about myself when I looked in the mirror each night. One day during a 24 marathon – delivered by Netflix Mail back in the day, I found a full-page hiring ad for DPD on the table. I figured I was in the best shape of my life, and there was no better time than then to help people and get back in karma’s good graces.
I HAD WORKED 10 YEARS AND ONE DAY…. at the Dallas Police Department and saw that the Southlake Police Department had opened up a lateral program. My family and I have ties in Westlake, and we did most of our shopping and eating in Southlake, so we knew the area well. We always marveled at how well the city was run and how everyone (police and citizens) just seemed so content and happy. Plus, the drive from my home in Roanoke to Northwest Dallas was killing me (pre-express lanes, I thank you), so I put in an application. Over the course of the next few months, I became Southlake’s first lateral hire and have now been here almost two years.
I WAS A FILM AND PUBLIC RELATIONS MAJOR AT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY … so I have always enjoyed being creative. I mean, to be fair, I WAS Baylor’s 2003 ‘Actor of the Year,’ and I’m not sad at all to be bragging about something that happened 15 years ago.
WORKING AS A COP IN A BIG CITY … like Dallas, I always worried that being a police officer would change me. You don’t exactly deal with the cream of the crop on a daily basis. So when I was younger and more rookie, I made a very wise decision to make sure there was two sides of me: the cop side and the regular creative guy. Since being a police officer, I have also written three novels, been a paid blogger and an abstract video game artist. While at DPD, I also worked in their media department for a bit updating their old training videos, so telling tales about Southlake PD seemed like a natural fit.
CHIEF BRANDON INVITED ME … in his office one day and made it very clear that he wanted our communication to the public to be more candid. He believes in transparency in the police department, as well as humanizing the badge. I settled on a tone, made the focus on the great work of our officers, and tried to paint a picture of the excellent work they do on a daily basis, being as detailed as possible. I obviously try to look for humorous things that stand out in each case, but humor can sometimes be a tightrope act.
WE LIVE IN SUCH A FAST-PACED WORLD … that if you want your message read, it has to have something else other than the message – whether that something else is a graphic, a meme, a video, a quip, a whatever. It has to be something that people will pay attention to. If we want to put out a BOLO (Be On the Lookout) on a thief, I personally don’t want a reader to gloss over the description or the crime because I literally want them to be on the lookout for that person so we can find them and bring them in.
BY WRITING THESE BLURBS … with certain hooks and details, we gain more readership. We get more shares. And more people see our bad guys. That only helps our detectives, our officers, our city and our citizens more.
WHILE POLICE WORK IS DANGEROUS AND DAUNTING … it is also hilarious. The news, movies and television may seem to portray us in a certain light, but there’s a regular person under this uniform as well who loves, cares, feels and laughs. And I want to make sure our public is aware of that. There is so much that happens in the police and fire world that the public isn’t normally privy to, so with Chief Brandon’s vision and the miracle of social networks, we are able to disperse those situations to the public.
WHEN I’M NOT ON THE JOB… I’m a father of two young, Pokémon-crazed boys. So most nights are spent walking around still playing Pokémon GO like a lunatic. I’m also a huge baseball fan and a fierce fantasy baseball contender, so other nights are spent writing and watching the Rangers or the Diamondbacks.