Sheriff Joe to star in reality show "Smile, You're Under Arrest"

Posted: Updated:
Show to air December 27

PHOENIX - A new reality television show will star Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his deputies.

It is called "Smile, You're Under Arrest." It is not on air yet but the show is already making waves.

In a world of real problems, could the answer be reality television? The idea is instead of "chasing after" fugitives, just invite them over. But is the show about the sheriff making arrests, or making a name?

It is an elaborate set-up all in the name of whittling down warrants.

Twenty-three-year old Russell Anthony took the bait which was an invitation to a fake fashion show in Scottsdale. The handcuffs, however, were real.

The show highlights Sheriff Arpaio and his deputies. On the show the sheriff says, "All I want is to take these fugitives off the streets."

Nevertheless critics say the sheriff could focus more on finding them.

For the show, Arpaio's deputies served any warrants that the producers researched, like Russell Anthony who was arrested last year for smoking marijuana on his patio in Glendale. The warrant was for missing his court date like most of the other fugitives targeted for television.

The sheriff admits, "It's not a publicity thing. I don't need this to get on television.

They wanted me. They wanted the sheriff to participate. Actually, they're smart.It might build up their ratings a little."

The sheriff also says it paid off for the county as well. They served 600 warrants as a result and even though Anthony only got drug treatment and no jail time, Arpaio says it's the message

The show also lured fugitives with a "free spa weekend" or an invite to be a "movie extra."

Most of them were wanted for failing to show up for a court hearing. The sheriff says safety was a big concern, so during the three days of filming, they did not target suspects considered dangerous.

The show airs December 27 on Fox Reality Channel.