SAN FRANCISCO — If a blue-eyed, chisel-cheeked mugshot can make an Internet sensation of a criminal suspect, can the law be far behind?
In this case, it’s a lawman — specifically, a San Francisco street cop whose in-uniform images are making him a cyber-celebrity with a badge.
San Francisco Police Officer Chris Kohrs — the “Hot Cop of Castro” to his fans and friends — became a viral sensation after a stranger created a Facebook page in his honor, nicknaming him after Castro Street, where Kohrs was posted at the time. The Facebook page has received close to 19,000 likes in about three weeks.
“I was out there one day doing traffic control and some guys asked if they could have photos of me and I consented. It kind of went viral from there,” the 36-year-old Kohrs said.
Kohrs’ Facebook page creator Nathan Tatterson said it all started with his friend’s photo of Kohrs sitting on his motorcycle.
“Other people in the neighborhood starting recognizing the ‘Hot Cop of Castro’ and started taking and posting their own photos,” said Tatterson. “Once people started recognizing Officer Kohrs, they started chatting with him and realized that he wasn’t just a pretty face. He was funny, nice, respectful, with a huge dose of charm and humility. He also clearly loved his job.”
User comments ranged from praise (“One of San Francisco’s Police Finest!”) to a touch risqué (“Crime has increased in the Castro with men of all stripes begging to be arrested and punished on the spot.”).
Kohrs, who has been on the police force for six years, said it was “all a shock” to him.
“I’ve never met the person that created the Facebook page. I’m not even on Facebook,” he said laughing.
His new-found fame follows on the trail of convicted felon Jeremy Meeks, whose mugshot stirred a collective swoon nationwide after authorities in Stockton, California, posted it on social media in June.
In his case, Kohrs sees an unintended, broader benefit of the online publicity for one cop on the street. “It has strengthened the bond between the community and the police,” he says.
Kohrs laughs at the suggestion of becoming a model or an actor — he is dedicated to his job of service as an officer, including responding to 911 calls, and he takes the work seriously.
“We are called upon to respond to some pretty bad situations and although we can’t reverse what has been done, we can make a bad situation better. We can make the city a better place to live, and I think police officers have a big impact on the health and safety of the community,” he said.
“I’m real happy here. If it’s going to be this good I’m going to stay,” he said.
His Facebook fan base includes both women and men equally, with the most-repeated questions being whether he is straight or gay, single or married.
Straight, single, no kids, he said.
And for the record: Kohrs enjoys dining out, watching movies, snowboarding, riding motorcycles, traveling and water skiing.