The Kodiak Police Department is tasked with keeping the community safe. But beginning next year, they also will be reality television stars.
The department will be one of four featured in a new reality television series about law enforcement in Alaska, called “Alaska PD.” The series, which will air on the A&E Network beginning on New Year’s Day, will track law enforcement officers in Fairbanks, Kodiak, Kotzebue and Petersburg.
“I am interested in what the local viewers have to say. This is an opportunity for them to see their police at work,” Kodiak Police Chief Tim Putney wrote in an email.
“I hope it will be somewhat educational. We are short-handed and dealing with the same types of crime other communities are facing. If anyone is interested in what they see, then I would like to remind them we have a ride-along program and job openings,” Putney said.
Putney said the potential to attract police officer applicants to Kodiak was the primary reason he was interested in participating in the show.
“We’ve actually never been fully staffed. Last year we responded to over 10,000 calls and conducted over 800 investigations that resulted in 407 arrests and about 1,000 criminal charges. That’s just one component of the job. We’re always getting calls for additional patrols downtown or in certain neighborhoods for speeding cars. We have ideas about being able to conduct a citizens academy or expand our community outreach, but right now we’re pretty reactive,” Putney said.
According to Putney, the film crews arrived in Kodiak in mid-April and left at the end of May. During that time, a TV crew of three people stayed in town and spent some of their time in the police station with officers, while also taking time to fish and hunt with police officers on their time off. The crews also spent time filming scenery and wildlife on the island.
“It seemed like they were trying to show how being a police officer might be the person’s job, but there is a lot more to them and where they live than the job they have,” Putney wrote.
Putney said the officers that will star in the show quickly got used to being filmed. They had discretion to tell the film crew not to go on a call if they felt that it might be a hindrance, and filming during medical calls was limited.
“You can’t always tell how a call will unfold at the beginning, so there were times when the officers told them that wouldn’t be good for TV,” Putney said. “The crew was responsive and easy to work with.”
Putney said the film crews were particularly interested in police calls involving bears, and some of the freedoms that Alaskans have.
“In New York City people can’t just walk around with a gun,” he said.
The series highlights the differences between Kodiak and the Lower 48, focusing on law enforcement officers that recently moved to Alaska.
The two-night series premiere begins on Jan. 1 at 10 p.m. ET/PT followed by a second episode on Jan. 2 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. New episodes will air Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. You can view the promo here: https://youtu.be/8zH6E6O2BLM.