NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The stars of a viral Norfolk Police Department post had their first meet and greet, but the event served a bigger purpose.

Officer Anthony Marquez and Officer Sean Gilley are partners on the Special Operations Team. One day, they headed back to the station to pick up some paperwork.

“Me and my partner had to stop by the precinct for some paperwork and we could smell something delicious,” Officer Marquez said.

The department was celebrating the September birthdays with a catered Mission BBQ treat. Both officers grabbed a plate.

 “Someone just took a photo of us, I guess,” Officer Gilley said.

A picture of the pair eating the special treat went viral overnight.

“Having people sending me screenshots left and right,” Officer Marquez said. “I think it is all comical. I have laughed quite a bit at it.”

Officer Gilley and Marquez are using their newfound fame to show a different side of policing.

“It is to really have a positive interaction with the public outside of our normal duties,” Officer Gilley said.

NPD is also using the post’s popularity to recruit officers for its 250 open vacancies.

“It allows us to speak with our community members during the meet and greet. Just express some interest in the field, talk to them about our day-to-day operations,” Sgt. William Pickering, Norfolk Police Department Public Information Officer, said.

Both officers were drawn to the department’s operations for the opportunity to help others.

“I enjoy the fact that we get to help people,” Officer Gilley said.

The pair have made their way through different positions. Sgt. Pickering said that is a perk of the job.

“All the opportunities,” he said. “That is what is so great about police work. You don’t have to be locked in the same job your whole career.”

To learn more about being an NPD officer, click here.