A television camera crew joined the Gilbert Police Department as officers administered a drug recognition test, pulled over speeders and inspected commercial trucks.
But this video was not for a national television show. Instead, the half-hour segment will be limited to nearly 27,000 Gilbert households.
The Gilbert-produced program is the first in a new series planned for the town’s government access station, which is available on Channel 11 for Cox Communications cable subscribers.
The police show is expected to debut sometime next month. Programs on other town departments, including a look at the Gilbert Fire Department’s history, are planned in the future, Gilbert spokesman Greg Svelund said.
The new programs will join the airing of Town Council and Planning and Zoning Commission meetings, a mayor’s talk show, the monthly "Your Town" program, and stateand military-produced shows. All can be seen — with frequent repeats — on the cable station made available by Cox to Valley communities, which are responsible for the content.
Arguably, one of the station’s most popular features is the council meetings, aired live on the first and third Tuesdays of the month and repeated daily. "I won’t say it’s surprising, but it never ceases to amaze me when people say, ‘I saw you on TV,’ " Vice Mayor Larry Morrison said.
Morrison and other council members often address home viewers in addition to the sparsely-filled council chambers. "Sometimes I ask a question I know the answer of for the benefit of the people watching at home," Morrison said.
Gilbert has no official way to measure viewer ratings, instead relying on feedback or comments from residents.
"(‘Your Town’ host) Brian Townsend gets recognized when he goes out places," Svelund said. "It’s the only rating information we have."
Mayor Steve Berman hosts "Talk to the Mayor" periodically with guests ranging from Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to Gilbert Unified School District Superintendent Bradley Barrett.