Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Assembly snubs law enforcement reality TV porposal


May 10, 2018

The Haines Borough Assembly quashed a request from a reality television producer to film a show centered around the Haines Police Department.

Engel Entertainment approached Haines and other Southeast communities about creating programming that depicts Alaska law enforcement. They offered a development agreement to pursue filming a pilot that would “explore possible programming involving the work of the Haines Police Department and featuring the dramatic environs of Haines.”  

The company produces two other shows, “North Woods Law” and “Lone Star Law” out of New Hampshire and Texas, respectively. Engel Entertainment vice president of development, Kara Smith, told the CVN last week they produce unscripted “fly on the wall” reality television. She said her company is interested in the different set of hurdles for Alaska’s law enforcement, along with telling the “story of transparent police officers who have policed down south.”

Haines Police chief Heath Scott said they engaged in short discussions with the company and said he and his officers had no objections to working with the company, but were apprehensive. “No police officer really wants to be on TV,” Scott said.

Borough manager Debra Schnabel said the opportunity, “if limited, could produce positive benefits for the department and the community.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, assembly member Tom Morphet made a motion to reject the agreement. “I don’t think the police department or its business should be entertainment for us or anyone else,” Morphet said.

Assembly member Heather Lende said she read a news article out of Maine where residents cited concerns that the show’s need for drama changed the way the police operated. “I don’t know whether that’s true or not…but it posed to me the questions of a lot of what our police department does, which according to the report has to do with domestic assault and violence and alcohol. I can’t imagine calling the police when you’re in a situation like that, with women and children, and leaving it up to their jurisdiction whether you’re on TV or not.”

Assembly member Sean Maidy questioned the reality of reality television. “I would like to keep Haines Alaskan instead of good television,” Maidy said.

The assembly voted unanimously to reject the development agreement.


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