SCSO to be featured in TV series

J. H. Osborne • Feb 12, 2014 at 8:00 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — Cable television viewers across America will have the opportunity to observe some of the inner workings of Sullivan County police, via a new documentary series planned for the National Geographic Channel.

On Tuesday, Sullivan County Sheriff Wayne Anderson announced that filming for the not-yet-titled show began in December and that the show’s production team is expected to finish up work here this week.

Also featured will be the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina, Anderson said.

The SCSO didn’t seek out being a part of the program but was approached by the show’s creators last summer after they researched viable agencies in the Southeast to feature, Anderson said.

“I’m tickled to death about it,” Anderson said of the department being chosen from the 3,500 sheriff’s offices in the nation.

“They wanted to come in and do a documentary on our sheriff’s department,” Anderson said. “They had done about a year’s work on deciding who they were going to pick. We didn’t know they were doing any research on us until they called us and told us about it.”

Anderson said he thinks the show will help economic development and showcase the region’s natural beauty.

“I’ve been assured over and over that it will put a positive spotlight on Sullivan County,” Anderson said. “I’m very excited about it.”

And the show also will give local residents a better insight into how the sheriff’s office works, Anderson said.

“It will give the community a chance to see how our officers work, and how good they really do,” Anderson said. “It shows that we have a lot of passion about our programs. It will show the world the advantages and opportunities of Sullivan County. I am proud of it. I think it’s going to be good for our county.”

Anderson said the show also could help the sheriff’s office recruit new members.

More than two months ago the sheriff’s office confirmed to the Times-News that filming for the series was taking place. Citing a confidentiality agreement signed with the production company, sheriff’s office officials requested that no story be published at that time.

Anderson cited that agreement Tuesday in not being able to go into much detail about the filming.

A contract released to the media on Tuesday shows Anderson inked a deal in October 2013 with Electus LLC, located on West Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, Calif.

Anderson said he and other SCSO employees were not personally compensated for taking part in the filming.

The “Company Fee” section of the contract states the county will receive payment of $5,000 per aired episode. Like other monies collected by the sheriff’s office, the payments will go the county’s general fund.

Anderson said two county commissioners are willing to sponsor a resolution that will appropriate the payments for use at the sheriff’s office.

Anderson said allowing the filming didn’t cost the county anything.

Filming for the show is expected to wrap up this week, with the producers departing on Friday, Anderson said.

No date for air of the series has been set, but Anderson said it will likely begin in summer or fall.

Staff writer Rain Smith contributed to this report.

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