‘I will say that it was very real’: 3 APD officers compete in National Geographic reality show

Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 6:46 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska is a place that favors the bold, the strong, and the most adventurous, but it’s by no means the only place on the globe that has a challenging landscape and tough people. Three Anchorage Police Department officers got to test their grit on “Race to the Center of the Earth,” a new reality show set to air on National Geographic.

Jeremy Conkling, Angelina Fraize, and Christopher Nelson have all lived in Alaska all or most of their lives and have been working with the police department together for more than 10 years.

Fraize said she’s been approached by outdoor reality shows before. She said her fishing posts from her boat attracted producers that she usually didn’t respond to them.

“Like ‘Naked and Afraid,’ and I just ignored them, but this one sounded really interesting,” Fraize said. “So I reached out and didn’t know if it would be real or not but she filled me in and said put together a team.”

That’s when she picked Conkling and Nelson to help out.

In the show, four teams were put in different corners of the globe and had to race to a central location where the final competition was. The Alaskan cop trio wasn’t sent very far away to Russia.

They said it looked pretty familiar.

“It was a lot of beautiful scenery - mountains, water - that we were looking at, and it looked a lot like we see here in Alaska,” Nelson said. “Especially Whittier compared to some of the places there while we there. I think every day we questioned, ‘Are we still in Alaska?’”

Like any good reality adventure show, they said the road from Irkutsk to Vladivostok was riddled with all sorts of challenges that tested their skills. They said they were pretty tough, but it really almost doesn’t seem fair for the non-Alaskan teams.

“We’d wake up every morning and figure out, you know, what we had to do that day or where we had to get to and we’d just look at each other and say, ‘This is great, we’d pay money to come on a vacation like this,’” Conkling said.

They said it’s the kind of show where the film crew follows them around every step of the way, but Fraize said the show put the “real” in reality television.

“The amount of people that traveled around with us and mic’d us up every morning and boom mics following you around and cars getting around us and getting the shot,” Fraize said. “And I will say that it was very real, they were not scripted, say this, do this, those cameramen and audio people were amazing.”

The show was shot and filmed back in October over the course of 27 days. They wouldn’t give any spoilers about how they had done, but they are pretty nervous about seeing the final product when it airs on Monday.

“I don’t like hearing my voice on a voicemail, much less thinking about how it’s going to be capturing everything on camera,” Nelson said.

Now, they said they think they did a good job in representing Alaskans and other law enforcement officers on the show, and are hoping that people watching will see how tough Alaskans are, and how fun cops can be.

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