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September 1, 2014

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It’s a wrap for Alaska troopers reality-TV show

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — It's a wrap for the Alaska State Troopers' reality show.

The agency's director, Col. James Cockrell, has let Alaska Department of Public Safety employees know by email that the state has decided not to participate in another season of "Alaska State Troopers," which airs on the National Geographic Channel, agency spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said Wednesday.

Cockrell's Tuesday email said that after five years, "it's time to stand down and focus on our principal mission of providing professional statewide law enforcement without any added outside distractions," The Anchorage Daily News reported.

This season's filming will conclude June 30, Cockrell said. He did not rule out resuming the series "in a couple of years" if there is interest within the department.

"This decision was not reflective of the production company (PSG Films) or the quality of their product," Cockrell said. "They have been responsive to our requests and have done an excellent job of accurately depicting our troopers and our mission."

The production crews followed members of the statewide police force as they made arrests across Alaska. The first season aired in 2009, early in the current wave of Alaska-based reality shows that have included "Deadliest Catch," ''Ice Road Truckers," and "Gold Rush Alaska."

The state received no money for allowing film crews to follow troopers, the newspaper said. There were less tangible benefits, however.

A 49-year-old Anchorage man wanted on several felony warrants decided to turn himself in last week after watching an episode of the show, troopers said.

Brian John Fahey approached two troopers in the parking lot of the Anchorage headquarters Friday.

According to troopers, Fahey said he believed they "were more professional and courteous to the people they arrested than other law enforcement personnel he had dealt with."

The show "definitely increased recruitment," Ipsen said. "I think that was mostly the first few seasons, and then it tapered off."

As to the "distractions" Cockrell mentioned, Ipsen said the film crews sometimes presented logistical problems, such as when troopers needed to transport those they arrested but had limited space because of the two-person camera teams.

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