Kentucky Justice, a reality show involving the day to day operations of the Harlan County Sheriff’s Office, premiered Sunday on the National Geographic Channel.
Local reaction to the show found its way to Facebook, with a Kentucky Justice Discussion Page opening up with comments on both sides of the aisle.
Bridget Wilson posted “People can say what they want but I’m proud of our boys in brown. I loved the show and will watch it again.”
Others said the program shines a needed light on the area’s drug issues.
“Great show, it shows how bad the drug problem is in the area but it also shows the futility of treating it as a criminal issue,” posted Jon Felosi on the Kentucky Justice Discussion page.
All reaction to the show was not positive. Jason Edwards, brother of Joseph Edwards whose arrest was chronicled on the episode, said he feels the show is one-sided.
“I did find the show was pretty much garbage,” said Jason Edwards. “They of course always portray the people on the opposite side of the law in a very bad and negative light and I felt they did just that.”
According to Jason Edwards, the program omitted a lot of information about his brother’s case.
“After watching the program last night — and I know it’s only the first episode and it’s a personal episode — I don’t feel like they actually captured the essence of Harlan,” said Jason Edwards.
Jason Edwards said other productions such as the movie Harlan County U.S.A. did a better job of capturing the “sound” of Harlan.
“I really feel the way the show was edited and the way the show was shot, they only showed the action aspect of everything that happened,” said Jason Edwards.
Sheriff Marvin Lipfird said that while he is optimistic about the impression the show will leave after its run is complete, there were aspects of the premier he was not happy with.
“The couple of rundown trailers and the sign that said Bloody Harlan, that aggravated me not a little but a lot,” said Lipfird. “The people that were here…said they wouldn’t do that.”
According to Lipfird, the show is overall an accurate representation of life at the Harlan County Sheriff’s Office.
“There was nothing staged, there was nothing scripted,” said Lipfird. “We did what we do on a day to day basis.”
Lipfird pointed out the investigations being chronicled ultimately decided where the scenes were shot.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510, ext. 113, firstname.lastname@example.org