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12-20-06, 01:52 AM #1
Indiana Town Swears In D-List Celebrities as Cops So They Can Carry Guns for Reality
MUNCIE, Ind. — Erik Estrada and other lesser celebrities have been sworn in as reserve officers of the city police department here, allowing them to carry badges and guns as part of a reality television series.
About 200 people packed into a Muncie City Hall auditorium for the Tuesday ceremony to swear in the former "CHiPs" star, along with La Toya Jackson, Jack Osbourne, Wee Man and Trish Stratus.
A producer coaxed the crowd into cheering loudly for the camera, and parts of the ceremony had to be repeated several times for the TV cameras.
"Roll call is at 6 o'clock," Muncie Police Chief Joe Winkle told the celebrities. "Do not be late."
Winkle had to say the line three times. The first take was interrupted by audience applause, the second was too quiet.
"Welcome to TV," said Julie Link of Forman Productions. "Sometimes, we have to retake."
The CBS show, "Armed and Famous," being filmed in this east-central Indiana city, population 66,000, follows the celebrities as they enforce the laws alongside city police officers.
Estrada joked with the crowd that people may not recognize him as an officer because he would not be wearing his toupee. He pulled up the back inch of his hairpiece and wiggled it, drawing laughter from the crowd.
Estrada carried a gun but rarely used it to stop bad guys in his 1970s motorcycle-cops drama.
He also appeared in VH1's "Surreal Life" in 2004. Osbourne, 21, son of rocker Ozzy Osbourne, was on the MTV's "The Osbournes." Wee Man, 33, a 4-foot-7 skateboarder, gained fame on the MTV show "Jackass."
Jackson, 50, a singer and sister of Michael and Janet Jackson, is a native of Gary, and Stratus is a former WWE professional wrestler.
MUNCIE, Ind. -- Producers of a reality television show are paying suspects arrested by gun-toting celebrity cops to persuade them to show their faces on the air.
"Armed & Famous" is an upcoming CBS reality show in which former "CHiPs" star Erik Estrada, La Toya Jackson, Jack Osbourne and others become armed reserve officers on the Muncie police force.
CBS publicist Kelli Raftery confirmed Monday that the show has offered some of those arrested T-shirts or cash to sign a waiver, officially known as a "likeness release."
"This release form has no effect or impact on the arrest or the bond," Raftery said in a statement. "A nominal fee in exchange for a likeness release is not typical but is certainly not unprecedented."
The tactic angered a woman whose son accepted $150 in exchange for having his face shown.
"No amount of money is worth the pain and hurt that I'm feeling as a parent," Dorothy Woods told The Star Press.
Her son, Terence Walker, 23, was arrested Thursday night on a warrant and misdemeanor marijuana charge by several Muncie police officers, including celebrities Trish Stratus, Wee Man and Estrada.
Woods said she believed the show is spending a disproportionate amount of time in black and poor neighborhoods on the city's southside.
Muncie Police Chief Joe Winkle denied that the show was taking advantage of low-income residents and said his department was not involved in the waiver process.
"We are just going where we get called and policing like we would any other time," Winkle said.
In another case, Philip Vore, 36, claims Muncie police held him in an empty room at the Delaware County Jail, refusing to officially book him until he signed the waiver.
Winkle denied the allegation.
Vore eventually agreed to sign the waiver in exchange for $400 -- money he has yet to see, said attorney Michael Quirk.
Producers initially offered Vore a T-shirt that said "I got arrested by a celebrity and all I got is this lousy T-shirt," Quirk said.
"I think the city of Muncie has set themselves up for embarrassment and lawsuits and all kinds of problems," Quirk said.
12-20-06, 02:07 AM #2Officer First Class
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Good reason to stay far away from Muncie!!!
12-20-06, 02:14 AM #3
Episode oNe : Muzzle Integrity.
"Stupid should hurt."
12-20-06, 02:21 AM #4
Its reality TV and camera men are a dime a dozen. My question is what town would allow some of these people to become reserves. Jack osbourne come on he wouldnt have passed a piss test, he is a known drug user and dont get me started on the rest of them. but in the same breath ill probibly watch it just to see how stupid they are
12-20-06, 02:21 AM #5
I can't believe a PD actually went along with this. It has the potential to undermine the credibility of law enforcement agencies across the board.\\` ` ` ` < ` )___/\
`` ` ` ` (3--(____)
"...but to forget your duck, of course, means you're really screwed." - Gary Larson
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