A new reality TV show featuring police departments in four Alaska communities premieres on January 1st.
The show is called “Alaska PD” and is airing on the A&E Network. Film crews rode along with police officers responding to calls in Fairbanks, Kodiak, Kotzebue and Petersburg earlier this year.
Petersburg police chief Jim Kerr thinks overall the filming was a positive experience.
“Like everyone you have start feeling comfortable being around cameras and knowing that you’re being recorded and watched,” he said. “I mean in law enforcement you’re watched all the time and judged every day and so this just added another layer on top of that knowing that it’s going to be seen throughout the country.”
Police departments in several of the communities viewed the show as a tool for recruiting new officers in a time of short staffing. Kerr is hopeful the camera crew was able to film the positive aspects of the town.
“I think we actually had an overall probably drop in calls,” Kerr said. “No one wanted to be on the show. At least that was the word that we were getting. But I mean that time of year coming here the end of February, early part of March, and they were here for about six weeks, that time of year is really the dead time of year.”
Kerr said he recommended filming during the busier summer season. Police officers did have some action for the crew to film. Officer Louis Waechter said the film crew was easy to work with and even stopped filming when asked.
“We had a few arrests while they here and a few good cases while they were here,” Waechter said. “I think what’s going to kind of be interesting to see is the caliber of people that were arrested here versus other places. They were telling me about a guy in Fairbanks that got into a fight with the police and that night I had to arrest somebody and all I had to do is ask him to get in the back of the police car. So I think it’s definitely going to show the quality of people we have here in Petersburg, even our criminals are pretty nice people by comparison.”
Local officers say they’ll take part if there’s more filming in the future.
Alaska PD will air Thursdays. The network plans a two-night series premiere January 1st at 9 p.m. and January 2nd at 8 p.m. (Alaska time) for cable customers. One of the film companies involved, Engel Entertainment, also has produced other shows featuring law enforcement, North Woods Law and Lone Star Law.