A cameraman films an SCSO deputy while compiling footage for 'Southern Justice.' Photo by Ned Jilton II.
A documentary television show recently filmed over several months at the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office will premiere Tuesday night.
According to a press release from the production company, Electus, a special preview episode of "Southern Justice" will air at 10 p.m. on the National Geographic Channel. The show chronicles the efforts at both the SCSO and Ashe County, N.C., Sheriff's Office.
The debut episode is titled "Bath Salts and Battery" and features the SCSO launching a manhunt for an individual suspected of assaulting both his girlfriend and father-in-law while under the influence of the drug.
Executive Producer Jim Lindsay says "Southern Justice" is filmed by experienced documentary filmmakers, capturing stories from the initial emergency call, through the investigation phases, and wrapping up in the courtroom. The show's official premiere is set for the fall, when it will then reportedly air on a weekly basis.
In February, Sheriff Wayne Anderson confirmed filming had been taking place with SCSO personnel since December. He said his agency 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.
"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 shows that we have a lot of passion about our programs," Anderson said. "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."
A contract released to the media reveals 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.
Speaking of Anderson and Ashe County Sheriff James Williams, an Electus press release says, "These sheriffs share a philosophy best described as 'Andy Griffith in the 21st Century,' and are tasked with protecting these unique, close-knit communities, which often requires a mix of action and compassion. And if a peaceful solution proves impossible, both agencies are ready with SWAT teams to handle the most violent situations."
"Where moonshine was once the most difficult banned substance to control, now it's meth, prescription pain killers and designer drugs like bath salts and gravel."
Staff writer J.H. Osborne contributed to this report.