Soldotna police chief featured on cable series

Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2001

SOLDOTNA (AP) -- Police Chief Shirley Warner says she's honored by her choice as one of the subjects of a TV series on women in law enforcement. But she says it's a little intimidating as well.

The series, ''Women and the Badge,'' is being produced by Oxygen Media Inc., a cable network dedicated to women's programming.

Warner has mixed emotions about being on television.

''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,'' Warner said.

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 around some of the local trails.

''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 it was postponed so Pike could spend more time with two other Alaska officers. Pike needed to complete filming of a Fish and Game officer in Palmer and a Village Public Safety Officer in Chevak.

''Since we had several women we wanted to complete filming for, we wanted to go back with Shirley,'' producer Rachel Lippman said. ''It's going to be 13 half-hour segments.''

Lippman said there are 30 to 40 women being profiled, and each segment will feature two or three.

''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 hopes 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.''

The series is scheduled to begin airing at the end of January, with the Soldotna chief's segment expected to go on in late spring. Oxygen is not available on cable TV in much of Alaska, however.

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