To participate, members of law enforcement are playfully posing in fields of bluebonnets, the Texas state flower, and posting the images to Instagram and Facebook. In one photo, two officers in uniform sit sweetly, back to back, among the flowers. In another photo set, a deputy is lying in the field with his police dog, Bolo.
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Other photos include officers sprawled out next to their police vehicles, sipping iced coffee, peeping through binoculars or journaling. Some of the cops got cheeky with the challenge, posing with donuts. The caption for one reads, “Doughnut mess with Texas.”
And one officer got creative when it couldn’t make it to a field of bluebonnets: Instead, he posed on a grocery store floor with tubs of Blue Bonnet margarine. “There’s nothing butter than a spring picture with the bluebonnets,” he wrote beneath the photo.
The men and women in blue hope that the #BacktheBLUEBonnets challenge will help law enforcement seem more accessible to the citizens of Texas. Detective Jory Jimenez, who manages the Mineral Wells Police Department’s social media accounts, told the Abilene Reporter News it’s “a fun way to show our community that we do have a humorous side and are just normal men and women behind the badge.”
He added, “It’s important to us to have that dichotomy between humor and information. Establishing that relationship with the citizens is helpful when the tables are turned and we need their help with receiving information on investigations or sending out widespread information.”
Posing with bluebonnets is something of a rite of passage in Texas — and an officer from Cedar Hill Police even pioneered the #BacktheBLUEBonnets challenge when he did a cheesy school photo pose in a field full of the blooms in 2015. In the caption, the police department warns citizens to “be careful when you stop to look at the bluebonnets.”
That’s because the viral challenge isn’t only for fun. The Farmers Branch Police Department in Texas is also staging the stunt to raise awareness to an important public safety issue: making sure people are very careful when they pull off to the side of the road to take photos in the bluebonnets. “Park in a safe place and be aware of your surroundings,” one officer wrote in his caption.
Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS) offers safety tips for enjoying bluebonnets this spring. They caution to make sure you don’t trespass onto private property or damage rights-of-way and government property while posing for photos. And though there is no Texas state law that prohibits picking bluebonnets, the TDPS cautions not to dig up large clumps of flowers or drive your vehicle onto the field.
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