Yukon News

Yukon RCMP get reality TV show

Jesse Winter Wednesday August 14, 2013

Derek Crowe/Yukon News

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If you see the RCMP in Whitehorse, make sure to smile for the camera.

The RCMP are working with a New York-based production company to produce a reality TV show about policing in the North.

Camera crews will be riding along with the cops and videotaping them on the job, in an attempt to give the public a clearer view of how and why officers do their jobs, said RCMP spokesman David Gilbert.

Shooting for the show has already begun in Whitehorse, but the plan was raising concerns among community groups before anyone hit record.

“The women’s centre is concerned. I’m concerned for the potential of a show like this,” said Hilary Aitken, program co-ordinator at the Victoria Faulker Women’s Centre.

“I don’t think it can show the multitude and complexity of issues that women in our community are facing, especially the high rate of sexualized assault, domestic violence, alcohol abuse and the intricacies of those things, how they combine with sexism and racism and colonialism,” she said.

The women’s centre wasn’t consulted until Aug. 6, when the deal was already done and the show was going ahead regardless, Aitken said.

She’s worried that people being filmed may feel pressured into agreeing to allow the footage to be used, or could be taken advantage of if they are intoxicated. She’s also concerned that in a community the size of Whitehorse, protecting people’s identity and right to privacy is very difficult.

“A show like this is particularly more concerning in a small place like the Yukon. Anonymity and confidentiality are especially difficult when there are only 30,000 people. Even if you blur out faces you can still identify neighbourhoods or vehicles or dogs,” Aitken said.

Gilbert said that anyone filmed will be asked by a film crew member to sign a waiver, and if they don’t consent the footage won’t be aired. Officers won’t be telling people one way or the other what to do.

“We don’t collect the waivers, we don’t tell people to do them precisely because of that. It has to be their choice. We don’t want people to feel coerced into signing on to something they don’t want to be a part of,” he said.

The whole idea started with a production company that wanted to do a show about policing in the North, said Gilbert. The company approached the RCMP in Ottawa to ask if they would be open to having this happen and Ottawa approached the three northern divisions to see if the divisions were comfortable with having film crews accompany officers on patrol.

“And really, they had sort of expressed a preference for the Yukon, mainly because of the history. Audiences worldwide know about the gold rush and Sam Steele. The Yukon is an iconic place for the RCMP,” he said.

When the opportunity was presented, it was too good to pass up and they had to move quickly before the production company started looking elsewhere for its show, said Gilbert.

He said that tight timing made it difficult to do much consultation with community groups, but he would gladly welcome any input from Yukoners.

Gilbert is overseeing the show’s production personally. The RCMP will have the chance to review every episode before it airs and ask for changes.

Gilbert said he sees the project not as a reality TV show but as more of a six-part documentary series.

“We want this to be documentary. When people think of reality TV, they think of manufactured scenarios and drama that isn’t really there. We think the Yukon is interesting enough and doesn’t need that kind of hype. We want to tell a true story.”

“We know there are huge sensitivities in different communities and among different groups of people. I think the challenge in this ... is finding a way of dealing with those hard issues in a way that doesn’t put anybody in a bad spot or show anybody in a bad light”

Gilbert said that the show won’t ignore challenging issues like drugs and alcohol abuse in the territory, but that it won’t dwell on them either.

“I think we have to acknowledge that that’s there, but the way to do that is not necessarily to have somebody who has already had enough difficulty in their lives then be faced with a TV camera,” Gilbert said.

Instead, he said hopes the show will focus less on the territory’s problems and more on the solutions that police and community groups are developing.

“Our folks should act as though there’s a camera on them all the time,” he said.

The company producing the show, True Entertainment, also makes Real Housewives of Atlanta, Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal, 28 Days in Rehab, and Battle of the Bods. Company president Glenda Hersh didn’t return calls for comment by press time.

Contact Jesse Winter at

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18 Comments

Allan wrote:
3:29pm Tuesday August 27, 2013

Why are police officers allowed to look sexy and wear sunglasses?

This is clearly a miscarriage of justice.

YukonGirl wrote:
11:12am Thursday August 22, 2013

Helllooooo Dumbasses…its a show on the Yukon, not specifically about the dumb drunks we have here. Let me say at first i was against the idea as well but the more I see about the programing I have come to the conclusion this show might not be so bad. For all you worried about the show not showing the depth of situations like small communities with little to no options this show will highlight things like that to the rest.of Canada, and maybe our underfunded communities will get the help they need. As for the show focusing on drunks….how small minded are you people?? There is more to the north than idiots causing problems!! What about the cops doing first response to emergencies like crashes, drownings, fires and the like? How about the Search and Rescue operations throughout the Territory that saves all kinds of lives and unique situations specific to Northeren living…I guess you all are too caught up worried about yourself or your friends looking like idiots. I for one am in support of this show smile

Loves Yukon wrote:
10:06am Monday August 19, 2013

@ Toni York. Why the harsh judgement? If it was a girl clad in a bikini and sunglasses would you think the same way…arrogant @ss? I highly doubt it.

HashtagYoloSwag wrote:
9:33am Monday August 19, 2013

Let me just say that this series would last about half a season. What happens in Whitehorse: Seriously. Drunk morons from the three different horrible bars get unleashed onto Main Street at 2 am, you get a bunch of blue collar cro-magnon idiots stumbling around being stupid, get into fights, drive home drunk, or get arrested by the RCMP. Other than that, FN people hanging around the Liquor Store all effing day and making them look bad. It will be junk television and garbage for the mind. This show will document a typical small northern town and it’s social problems, and the routine of a second rate police force.

piper wrote:
6:10am Saturday August 17, 2013

Only the criminals will be against this ,they don,t like the spotlight & the public to know who they are .I wonder why the mountie in the photo forgot to shave ?

yukoner wrote:
1:17pm Friday August 16, 2013

Why are the first nation worried so much its going to be a dumb white guy getting busted for fighting or steeling or driving drunk or selling pot or maybe some coke.

north_of_60 wrote:
11:10pm Thursday August 15, 2013

This show a bad idea for the RCMP.

What the police see is a very biased view of life in the North, which only reinforces people’s preconceived notions and stereotypes of aboriginals.

People with dull meaningless lives can get their vicarious entertainment from American cop TV.

 

Rob McGurk wrote:
10:13pm Thursday August 15, 2013

This is completely inappropriate and unwanted. The person(s) responsible for thinking, for one second, that this is in any way acceptable, need to reverse this decision or be fired.

Bill Campbell wrote:
6:29pm Thursday August 15, 2013

@ Concerned former resident:  Don’t know how you can say the cops in Whitehorse are bored.  They certainly have no time to crack down on all the reckless driving that goes on here.

Skeptic wrote:
2:38pm Thursday August 15, 2013

The best way to showcase the sunny side any community is to film police arresting people. Anybody remember getting vacation ideas from COPS.

jenny wrote:
2:07pm Thursday August 15, 2013

I wonder if the RCMP members who had ‘consensual sex’ with an intoxicated woman Watson Lake will be featured on the show…now, there is some reality TV show material….
http://yukon-news.com/news/rcmp-officers-face-hearing-in-watson-lake/

sarah wrote:
2:02pm Thursday August 15, 2013

i sure hope they dont try to pull something like this in any of the communities, i can guarantee it wont go over very well…

N. Rumsey wrote:
11:30am Thursday August 15, 2013

This is will only cause more detriment to our communities. It makes me sad to think that instead of using resources to help with our social issues, we are spending time and money on exploiting them. This show will only continue to exacerbate our social problems within the Yukon because many viewers will be too ignorant to understand the underlying complexities of historical trauma and mistrust amongst First Nations people caused by decades of oppression from government figures such as the RCMP.  It is highly unlikely that this “documentary” will focus on any positive elements of living in the Yukon. This is a very sad day for our community.

That Guy wrote:
10:42am Thursday August 15, 2013

I think this is a great idea. People in this town finally get a chance to see how stupid they act on a regular basis. Some idiots might even smarten up if they know that they might be broadcasted on TV for other people to laugh at.

Concerned former resident wrote:
11:44pm Wednesday August 14, 2013

From my experience there are great officers in the Yukon, however what was made clear very fast to me was the police are constantly bored and have all the time in the world to get you for anything the could for something to do. I can see it now, a Canadian knock off of Alaska State Troopers except they are going to be dealing with drunks 24/7. On the bright side i get to keep tabs om my friends that are being BAD BOYS BAD BOYS what you gunna do when they come for you…..

No need to know wrote:
11:04pm Wednesday August 14, 2013

Ya they can review it, why? Cause they dont what to show they real face on the camera. Cops in whitehorse must be the worst in that two face scenario. They want to try to show to the population how good they are when they are the most problem in here. I can say i seen them drifting in the winter, have at least 7 drunk friend passenger in there car like shrimp in a box, and try to have power over the native that had this land before we came and fuck their land and i pass, so i would say f… those whitehorse rcmp two face. Keep telling lie to the population. Tv…. You doing soooo good at it.

James wrote:
10:16pm Wednesday August 14, 2013

Hopefully the first episode deals with the 12-16 year old girls arrested for car theft and arson.

Toni York wrote:
6:01pm Wednesday August 14, 2013

yup the pic of the cop looks like an arrogant ass.
take the sunglasses off bud.

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