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New cable show highlights police, firefighters

The newest television show to hit the cables wires in Farmington and Rosemount is part public service, part public relations and part recruiting tool.

Called In the Line of Duty, the bi-monthly cable access show debuted last month and features representatives of the police and fire departments in Farmington, Rosemount and Apple Valley. It has been in the works since last year, when Apple Valley agreed to expand its existing police and fire shows and bring in the two cities it partners with on the local cable franchise agreement.

The first episode of In the Line of Duty featured the chiefs of all six departments talking about the issues that affect them as they try to keep residents safe. They talked about cyber crime and about Dakota County’s communication center in Empire Township.

“It was a lot of fun to do,” said Farmington Fire Chief Jim Larsen. “There was no script, so it was just six chiefs sitting together talking about issues that affect us all.”

Larsen said the show could be a valuable recruiting tool for a department that relies on volunteers.

“It may give that impetus for someone who’s sitting on the edge of the fence,” he said. “It may inspire them to say, ‘I’m going to give it a try.’ We’re always looking.”

Larsen, the only full-time employee of the Farmington Fire Department, will remain a regular presence on the show going forward, but other departments have assigned representatives. Officer Steve Kuyper will represent the Farmington Police Department. He started appearing on the former public safety show when it expanded last year.

Kuyper said he sees value in the show as a way for police to reach out to the community.

“I think the public likes putting a face to police officers and emergency responders and then, obviously, giving them information,” Kuyper said. “It’s a change of pace. It gets me out of the squad car.”

As he prepared to start work on the series’ second episode this week, Kuyper still wasn’t sure exactly what form the show would take. Previously, the officers involved had a hand in writing the stories that were featured. They did stories on bike safety, National Night Out and the steps involved in becoming a police officer.

With the addition of the fire departments, there will be much more ground to cover.

Rosemount Fire Chief Rick Schroeder has a unique perspective on the show. In Rosemount, he’s a representative of the fire department. But his day job is with the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office. He sees the issues both police and firefighters deal with, and he likes the idea of getting some of that information out to the public.

“It’s a great deal,” he said. “Anytime you can create that human side of things and open things up and let people in your world a little bit, the better off you are.”

In the Line of Duty will air multiple times throughout the week on Charter channels 180 and 188 and Gigabit Minnesota channels 7 and 8. Full schedules are available in the online version of this story.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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