A Springs video producer who wanted to do something to help combat drunken driving has created a public service announcement featuring East Hampton's finest.
Officer Matt Rodriguez plays the role of an officer with not much to do in the tongue-and-cheek video, "Keep a Cop Bored." The message: Stay home if you want to drink and keep a cop bored.
Rodriguez plays with his hat, tries his handcuffs on as earrings, and shoots his radar gun as he says, "Say hello to my little friend," while Frank Vespe's camera rolled.
The video was shot one Saturday morning last month on the Napeague Stretch, near the . Another scene, where Rodriguez feeds his donuts to the seagulls, was shot at Pussy's Pond in Springs.
Vespe said he came up with the concept in response to the numerous reports of drunken motorists driving the wrong way on Long Island recently. "I said, 'Let me see if I could put my talents together to do something tongue-and-cheek to raise awareness to this issue," said Vespe on Wednesday afternoon. "The idea is everyone's home drinking and the police have nothing to do."
First, Vespe wrote the script, which includes nods to "Taxi Driver" and "Scarface" and then shopped it around to some police departments. Having lived in Levittown, he went to the Nassau County police. "They said, 'Frank, good try. We like it. But, it will take you to next Christmas to try to get it done,' because of all the beaurocratic red tape."
He then called Chief Ed Ecker. "I spoke to the chief of police who couldn't stop laughing," Vespe said.
"Eddie appropriately vetted the idea with me," Bill Wilkinson said on Wednesday. "I thought it was a great idea to keep our officers involved."
Still laughing from watching the video for the first time, Wilkinson said, "I just have one question. How many donuts did he really eat and how many did he feed to the seagulls?"
In a slightly more serious tone, he said of Rodriguez, "Nobody could have represented the town better."
Vespe said he knew all along that he wanted Rodriguez for the clip. They knew each other because three of Vespe's four children attend East Hampton High School, where Rodriguez is stationed as the school resource officer.
Steve Harper, a morning disc jockey with 98.3 KJOY, narrated the PSA, which Vespe wrote, edited, and produced for free. He finished it last week and posted it a few days ago to YouTube.
Ecker said, "I'd like to thank Frank for doing it. The first time I spoke to Frank about it, I loved the premise of it." He said it's a great reminder going into New Year's Eve not to drink and drive.
You might even catch it on television soon. Vespe said he has sent it to Channel 55 and Plum TV to run, though they've requested it be cut down to just 30 seconds.