Soldotna will have a new star in 2002. Not one of the high school athletic variety, but a bona fide television personality.
Soldotna Police Chief Shirley Warner will be featured in a 13-part cable television series called "Women and the Badge." The series, produced by Oxygen Media Inc., a cable network dedicated to women's programming, is scheduled to air at the end of January. Oxygen is not available on cable TV in the central peninsula, though those with satellite TV could receive it. Warner's segment may air in late spring.
Warner said she had mixed emotions about being chosen for the series.
"On one hand, I feel honored," she said. "It's a field I feel very proud of. It's nice that Soldotna has been selected to be put on the map. It shows that Soldotna is progressive.
"I also feel like I'm being tortured," she added. "It's very different being on camera. I'm not a tremendously private person. I can't imagine a private person being on film."
Warner said she spent a great deal of time with free-lance reporter Amanda Pike during filming. This included documenting little things like getting ready for work.
"She filmed me putting on my socks."
Filming for Warner's segment began Sunday, when Pike arrived from San Francisco. Pike followed Warner through her day-to-day duties as chief, but official police duties weren't the only things recorded.
"The most fun had little to do with police work," Pike said. "She took me snowshoeing."
Pike followed Warner and her fiance, Bill Gifford, on a trek through the trails behind Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and out onto Headquarters Lake.
"We're just trying to capture a small part of who she is and what she is about," Pike said. "We hope to make something that Shirley, her family and the community are proud of."
Filming was originally scheduled for September, but associate producer Rachel Lippman said it was postponed because of "scheduling issues." Lippman said Pike came back to complete filming of a Fish and Games officer in Palmer and a Village Public Safety Officer in Chevak.
Warner will be included in a television program Pike is working on.
Photo by M. SCOTT MOON
"Since we had several women we wanted to complete filming for, we wanted to go back with Shirley," Lippman said. "It's going to be 13 half-hour segments."
Lippman said there are between 30 to 40 women who are being profiled, and each segment will feature two or three women.
"We just wanted to give viewers an inside look at what it's like to be a woman law enforcement officer on the street," she said. "Women currently make up 13 percent of law enforcement officers. It's a very different experience in law enforcement for women. "
Warner said she hoped the show will inspire viewers, and girls in particular, to consider careers in law enforcement.
"I always try to do that," she said. "I think it's a great career for girls to go into."
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