A rock band consisting of five musically-talented police officers from Astoria, Oregon took the stage at Fort George Brewery on New Year’s Eve to perform a list of popular cover songs.
The musician-officers include lead vocalist Jason Hoover from the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office, Officers Kevin Berry, Chris McNeary and Andrew Randall from the Astoria Police Department, as well as bass guitarist and Port of Astoria security officer Keith Warren.
The police officers feel that music is a way to escape from the stress of their day jobs.
“You don’t think about police work when you’re up playing the guitar and singing and listening for the drums,” said guitarist and vocalist McNeary. “It’s definitely putting you out of that zone where you’re doing police work, which, as many people know, is pretty stressful right now.”
The band first came together at the 2019 Clatsop County Fair, which was set up as a fundraiser for officers killed in the line of duty. The fair organizers initially invited Berry to play some cover songs after witnessing his guitar abilities on YouTube. The officer agreed, but only on the condition that he could perform with some law enforcement friends.
The group ironically called themselves Public Nuisance, and play songs from the 60s to 90s in differing genres from pop, rock, and country. The fundraiser show was a hit, and the band decided to organize more gigs.
“We were like, ‘this is the coolest thing ever; it’s better than work,'” McNeary said.
However, the coronavirus forced the band to cancel many of their shows.
Due to the officers’ different schedules, the three Astoria officers created a separate group, The Yard Dogs, who played a separate show for the Worker’s Tavern New Year’s Eve party.
Berry said the band creates a more human impression of law enforcement.
“It’s helped the being a relatable human factor to see that we’re not just super uptight, rigid people outside of work,” added Berry.