Native Village
Youth and Education news
Volume 4   September 2011

"Navajo Cops" filming 6 new episodes
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Officer Kevin Hyvel

Arizona: In May, the National Geographic Channel aired "Navajo Cops," a one-hour documentary about the Navajo Nation police officers.

The Navajo NationNavajo Cops was so popular that the cable channel has ordered another six episodes of the reality series. Crews from Flight 33 Productions are now filming on the reservation's Crownpoint and Tuba City districts.

"National Geographic was happy with the response of the first show," said producer Sam Dolan. "It really held its audience and the word-of-mouth attracted people to watch it.

Dolan said Navajo Cops is unique. It features a different type of police operation, showing Navajo officers dealing with typical problems while still being true to their culture.

The new episodes will explore other areas of a Navajo police officer's life. Many officers were born and raised in these communities and feel a special responsibility to make them safer.  They spend off-duty time working with young kids and on other community levels -- the best kind of crime prevention.

Officer Renita Curley"They really take their jobs seriously," Dolan said. "Policemen in the big cities don't have this relationship with the communities and neighborhoods they serve. "

Producers emphasize their intentions are to show the Navajo Nation and its police department in a positive light.  The tribe's Office of Broadcast Services helped with the logistics.

"We couldn't have done this without their help," Dolan said.

One concern has been the filmmakers' safety. Navajo police are often called into dangerous situations in remote areas where police backup could be an hour or more away.  Production crewmembers are required to wear bulletproof vests. They also sign documents saying they understand the dangers and that the tribe and the police department aren't responsible if they get injured or killed.

Another aspect of filming is watching Navajo people react to television crews following the police officers around.
During the first show, a Navajo elder was watching them film. Later, they heard her tell friends that she saw a "caterpillar on a stick."

She was referring to a microphone boom that is held over people to capture sound.

Dolan said National Geographic  will probably run in early 2012. People can go to the NatGeo Web site for updates on the series' progress, film clips, and previews of the upcoming shows.

Because many on the Navajo reservation don't have access to the National Geographic Channel, Dolan has been handing out DVDs of the original show.


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