‘The Purge’ Siren Used in Louisiana Town to Signal Coronavirus Curfew — Now Police Are Apologizing

One city in Louisiana is implementing a curfew for their residents in order to slow down the movement of people during the coronavirus outbreak. Many states and cities have issues “shelter-in-place” guidelines and have encouraged social distancing, to slow the spread of the infectious disease COVID-19. However, one Louisiana town named Crowley took it a step further.

Police in Crowley played out a siren to signal the nighttime curfew. Many locals recognized the distinct sound the police department used for the siren: it was used in the horror franchise The Purge. In the films and television series, this sound lets American citizens know that it’s time to go do crime. Oops!

Louisiana
Vintage illustration of a “Greetings from Louisiana” postcard | Found Image Holdings/Corbis via Getty Images

‘The Purge’ siren used for coronavrius pandemic curfew in Louisiana

Variety recently reported that police in a town in Louisiana used a recognizable sound from “the horror franchise The Purge to signal a curfew during the city’s quarantine.” Crowley, Louisiana, has set a 9 p.m. curfew in place for its citizens,as a reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. The publication explained that “Crowley police drove around the city’s Acadia Parish playing the noise to alert people to the nightly curfew, which lasts until 6 a.m.”

As Variety put it, “many found the noise chosen for the siren eerily familiar.”

For those unfamiliar with the scary movies, what does the siren really mean? Variety reported:

All The Purge horror movies feature a 12-hour window of time where all crime, no matter how violent, is made legal in the U.S. The siren is used to signal the beginning of the Purge. It can be heard in most of the franchise’s trailers, including the most recent movie, The First Purge.

“This is crazy,” one Crowley resident told local news station KATC. “… nobody was expecting to hear that kind of siren.”

Police department apologizes to citizens for using the siren from the 2013 movie

Crowley police chief Jimmy Broussard told KATC that he had never seen The Purge. Broussard knew it to be just an “old military siren.” In a statement, the sheriff of the Acadia Parish, K.P. Gibson reported to KATC that it will not happen again. The statement read:

The Purge
Cosplay enthusiasts in character as thugs from The Purge at the MCM London Comic Con in 2016 | Ollie Millington/WireImage

Last night a ‘Purge Siren’ was utilized by the Crowley Police Department as part of their starting curfew. We have received numerous complaints with the belief that our agency was involved in this process. We were not involved in the use of the ‘Purge Siren’ and will not utilize any type of siren for this purpose.

The Purge Siren was a bold choice — but why use a curfew siren in the first place?

But why was the noise from The Purge even used in the first place? Broussard explained the decision to KATC.

“We didn’t want to go through with our regular sirens because we didn’t want to create more havoc,” he said. “And one of the officers who is military approached me and said … ‘there is an old military siren.'”

Broussard admitted that this officer knew the siren was used in The Purge. However, “it’s been used for many many, years,” in other contexts, the police chief explained. Broussard chose it because he found it to have a “more muffled tone.”

But still, KATC pointed out that many Crowley citizens were stumped as to why the police department used a siren at all.

“It was to remind people that this is a very serious matter,” Broussard said. “It’s a very serious disease. It’s a very serious pandemic going on. I think part of the issue is … it’s not real to them.” The police chief wanted to ensure his residents were taking COVID-19 seriously. He didn’t seem too concerned with the public response to the Purge Siren.

“Our purpose was to let people know,” Broussard continued. “And if they know now, even though is, how dangerous this pandemic is … then, okay, it was accomplished.”

We’re not entirely convinced that the use of the siren from The Purge franchise accomplished anything but spreading fear and ridicule for the police department. But we hope people are taking the pandemic seriously, too.