No one is immune to the Pokémon Go craze — not even the nation’s police forces.
The interactive game, which has attracted legions of global fans since it was released earlier this month, encourages players to go on a real-world scavenger hunt to find the Japanese animated characters. Here’s how it works, courtesy of USA Today:
The game presents a map powered by GPS, using real-world locations to spot Pokémon and collect items. When you find one, the game opens up your smartphone's camera, giving you a view of Pokémon in the real world. Once you spot them, you flick a Poké Ball toward the creature to capture it. Along with collecting Pokémon, there are Poké Stops pinned to real locations where players can grab items. It could be a grocery store, or a landmark, or even a sign that can serve as a Poké Stop. Once Pokémon are trained, players take them to gyms to battle other Pokémon.
Across the country, Pokémon Go has evolved into a little more than a summer distraction. Amid a week when two police shootings of black men and the murder of five officers in Dallas have convulsed the nation with renewed racial tensions, police have turned to the game to connect with people in their communities.
One officer in Fall River, Mass., took time off the beat to get involved in a Pokémon hunt:
#PokemonGO hunt is on, FRPD assisting pic.twitter.com/rKzxAfreG2— Fall River Police (@FallRiverPD) July 10, 2016
In Tucson, Ariz., officers in a squad car blasted the Pokémon theme music for hunters trying to fill their Pokédex.
.@Tucson_Police play @Pokemon song through loudspeakers for Go! players. #MomentOfZen @whatsuptucson @TheDailyShow pic.twitter.com/0Qgw4CRMTo— Ernesto Porras (@E23R0) July 11, 2016
Police in Crewe., Va., warned players not to walk into traffic unwittingly. “If you become road kill who will train the Pokémon? Think about it…”
**Suspicious Activity** Police have noticed a large amount of foot traffic in the town. Individuals appear to be...Posted by Crewe Police Department on Sunday, July 10, 2016
In Marion, Iowa, police had some sad news for Pokémon trainers in their city:
Sorry #PokemonGO 'ers, there are no PokéStops at the police department👮🏻 (Reminder, public parks close at 10:30-pm) #GottaCatchemAll— Marion Iowa Police (@MarionIaPolice) July 11, 2016
And finally, do not Pokémon Go and drive:
We're taking submissions for impromptu Don't #PokemonGO and Drive social media campaign on https://t.co/h0s1ST09gl pic.twitter.com/CY3L4v0rZU— TxDOT (@TxDOT) July 12, 2016