Roll call: It’s usually where officers in training share more about themselves, so fellow officers can get to know them. In one San Antonio police officer’s case, his peers discovered his singing talent.
Officer Billy Morgan’s rendition of Folsom Prison Blues went viral.
“I know it’s a song about going to prison, but it’s one of my favorite Johnny Cash songs,” Morgan said.
San Antonio Police Officer Alexander Garza said he saw Morgan’s guitar during police roll call, and “jokingly” asked if Morgan was going to play everyone a song.
“Sure enough, as soon as he started singing, he blew us all away with his voice. I [posted the video] on Facebook because I thought he could bring a positive reflection on police, to show people that we have hobbies outside of policing,” Garza said.
Garza's video has since been viewed more than 370,000 times and shared more than 5,000 times. He said he didn’t see that coming.
The San Antonio Police Department later shared the video on its Facebook page.
Garza posted the viral video with the following caption:
"So, this happened at roll call before we went to go fight crime. If you see this officer on the street, he may just sing you a song. Share away!"
“I know that I had to talk about myself at some roll calls. You know, just a little bit about yourself and what not. I wasn’t able to sing, that’s for sure,” Garza said.
Morgan said he has been singing since he was a teenager and worked as a professional singer through gigs in the San Antonio area after leaving the United States Air Force.
He recently graduated from the San Antonio Police Academy in February. Garza also graduated in fall 2016.
“Our job is so serious. It’s fun to get a laugh in at roll call before we hit the streets,” Morgan said.
Morgan also said the viral video clip happened right before a shift.
"Especially new guys, we were all thinking about what we were going to be doing that day... Just getting our heads together and understanding all the procedures we have to get through,” he said.
Officer Jesus Hinojosa said he has acted as a field training officer for about five years at the central SAPD substation.
Hinojosa said he heard from another officer in training that Morgan was also an Elvis impersonator. Singing proved to be a good way to “break the ice.”
“He played very well. I was extremely proud,” Hinojosa said.
This isn’t the first time an officer revealed their lighter side during a roll call. Hinojosa said he cracked a joke about Garza during training.
“We wrote a fake note on a lunch box saying it was from his mother and that he forgot his lunch. We decorated it with little hearts and presented it to him at roll call,” Hinojosa said.
Morgan said he is proud that the internet attention represents something positive.
“We’re just regular blue collar folks, just like everyone else. We want everyone to know that we joke around. We have fun. We care about people just as much as they do,” he said.