Reality shows are a gem in today’s television. In the outgoing decade, viewers have gotten the chance to indulge in their favorite reality shows such as the Diesel Brothers, Undercover Boss and No Passport Required just to mention a few. However, these reality shows don’t compare to the thrill that law enforcement shows offer. Fans of crime-solving and thriller shows such as the CSI franchise, the NCIS franchise, and the Criminal Minds get to watch as detectives solve a murder and fight crime altogether. While these shows are not reality shows but just scripted films, there are a lot of consultations from police departments involved. Thankfully, viewers can get to see the real deal in recent crop of shows such as Alaska PD which follows the lives of real policemen doing real police work and catching criminals.
So what is the show Alaska PD all about?
Alaska PD is an American reality show that airs on A&E network. The show follows police officers from the Alaskan police department as they try to combat the rising crime rate in the city. This tries to show people how law enforcement really works in Alaska. The police departments being featured on this series are Petersburg, Kodiak, Fairbanks and Kotzebue departments. The series showcases the ups and downs and challenges that come with working in a tough environment such as the one that Alaska provides. Stephanie Angelides, the show’s producer said that the idea for the show came when she read about how communities in Alaska were struggling to find police officers who were willing to work and live in remote environments.
Is the show Alaska PD real?
The answer to this question varies and is actually dependent on who you ask. However, the show is unlike most in its genre. According to Web Centre, the show is based on people’s actual experiences and their struggles in finding police officers. The show aims to help police departments recruit more officers and staff by showing them the good side of fighting crime in a harsh environment. Sergeant Deweale stated that the fact that the show advertises the department and helps it gain more hires is what drove him to be on it. Stephanie Angelides also added that the show was less of a reality show and more of a documentary. She said that they took the documentary approach so that they could get more of the real content in and not try to interfere with actual policing by injecting their own material in like most reality shows.
Alaska is not a very friendly environment and viewers get to see dedicated police officers handle their business on a daily basis. According to us, there are over a hundred and fifty communities in the state of Alaska but only close to 50 of those communities have law enforcement. Alaska PD focuses on 4 of the small communities and shows how tough it is to fight crime especially when the community is so small to even have a post office. Alaska PD also brilliantly illustrates how some people have a hard time cooperating with the police. Some people hate police officers because they’ve once been caught in the wrong while others were simply taught to hate them.
Either way, it is difficult to try and enforce the law on people who are less than willing to cooperate. The show helps to humanize police officers and show that they too are human and deserve consideration and respect. The show is also legally allowed to show the suspects’ faces on camera and as the crew state in the web center, they have often found themselves in situations where the police officers asked them to stop filming due to the sensitivity of some of the issues they face. The show highlights the good and bad sides of being a police officer and the fact that no scripting goes into the show means that days might be different. Other times the police officers make the right decision regarding a suspect or case while other times, the call is just wrong. This goes to show that no scripting goes into the show.
A case in point is one episode where a man got into a fight with a police officer and they had to simply ask him to get into the car. This shows the quality of people in the Alaskan communities and as Officer Louis Waechter stated, even their criminals were pretty nice. The series also highlights the other side of being a cop as they always run into people who they’ve arrested before. Before the show, police officers couldn’t socialize in bars because of the tough job they did. The show has also helped to air the police officers’ grievances especially in terms of pay. According to Anchorage Daily News, the starting salary for any police officer in Alaska is roughly $22 for every hour. This is a lower rate when compared to the salaries at other departments such as the Alaska state troopers and anchorage police department.
As to the question of whether Alaska PD is real or not that can only be left to one’s own imagination. The facts, however, don’t lie and in comparison to other shows like it before such as Live PD, Cops and America’s Most Wanted we can only state that it fits the degree of authenticity that is displayed in most of these shows. Alaska PD airs every Thursday and the network decided on a 2-nights series premiere set for January 1st at 9 pm and a second one on January 2nd at 8 pm exclusively for cable customers. Alaska PD can’t be streamed live on Hulu but it is available for download on Hulu plus. Alaska PD isn’t the first show to be produced by Engel Entertainment. The film company has also produced other law enforcement shows such as the North Woods Law and Lone Star Law.