TikTok is turning the Horry County Sheriff’s Office into a viral sensation

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Millions of Taylor Swift’s fans have sung along to the superstar’s 2019 smash “Cruel Summer” as she’s performed it live through her Eras Tour.

But how many have been caught belting out the lyrics at work?

Nearly a dozen Horry County Sheriff’s Office workers did in late July, before the clip was uploaded to the department’s TikTok page and has since been played more than 127,000 times.

Since April 2022 when an 11-second video of canine officer Rinko and her handler, Cpl. Misty Puckett, went live on the social media site, the Horry County Sheriff’s Office has racked up nearly a half million likes and 26,000 followers.

The 2-year-old Belgian Malinois was put in service in 2021 and has become a recurring star on the channel, with a July 2022 video showing various features within Puckett’s vehicle that keep Rinko safe in the heat snagging 2.5 million views to date.

Naturally, it’s set to a remix of Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog.”

Department spokeswoman Brennan Cavanaugh said the agency’s social media presence is designed to show the lighter side of police work and the personalities of its officers.

“It definitely started out as just a way to expand our audience and showcase the fun side of law enforcement,” Cavanaugh said. “Beyond getting the word out that we’re hiring, I think it just kind of reduces that intimidation factor that comes along with that law enforcement profession.”

It’s also a helpful recruiting tool, she said, as several videos include links for job openings and other information.

After state lawmakers approved lowering the minimum age for detention deputies from 21 to 18, Cavanaugh said the TikTok page became a valuable marketing tool since 80% of its users are between the ages of 16 and 34.

The department held a recruitment fair last week, and half the applicants said they learned of it through TikTok, Cavanaugh said.

Being able to showcase the lighter side of law enforcement is another benefit.

For example, an August 2022 upload spends 15 seconds recapping health insurance benefits for correction officers. It’s set to “The Magic Bomb,” a 2021 electronic dance song from Vietnam whose thumping beat is used as a backdrop for answering questions.

Gotye’s hit “Somebody I Used To Know” plays over a deputy standing outside divorce court, while another features a deputy directing traffic to “Stop in the Name of Love.”

Cavanaugh said Puckett last week conducted a traffic stop involving a North Carolina driver, and the person recognized her from the sheriff’s office’s TikTok account.

Community engagement initiatives are included as part of the department’s performance measures within the county budget.