'Alaska PD' Officer Gerrit Butler Is a Former Pro MMA Fighter
It seems like there's no dearth of Alaska-themed reality TV content, but A&E might have a bonafide hit on their hands with Alaska PD.
It's no secret that Live PD is the belle of the ball when it comes to cable TV ratings... the program is absolutely killing it for the network. So why wouldn't a series about police officers navigating the criminal world and helping citizens daily in one of America's most remote locations work?
Especially with a person like Gerrit Butler on the show.
A Fairbanks police officer who is featured in the first episode, Gerrit is shown bringing down a suspect who clearly has some martial arts training. I guess it helps that Gerrit used to be a former professional mixed martial artist himself. The officer studied under the famed Eddie Bravo in his 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu school, one of the premier BJJ programs in the world.
If you want to get an idea of how long Gerrit's been practicing martial arts, it seems like he's been doing it for a very long time. He received his purple belt from Bravo himself in 2012, so, assuming he's been keeping up with it until today, he's probably not someone you would want to get in a scrap with.
It looks like the same goes for all the officers up in Alaska. After watching the show's debut episode, it's pretty clear that it takes a special kind of badass to work in law enforcement in America's "Last Frontier."
I'm going to preface all of the danger that these cops are in with a frightening statistic: In some parts of the state, there is one bear for every four people.
So imagine you're going for a jog or just driving around to get some groceries, that means there's a big chance you'll pass by person, person, person, then person-being-chased-by-bear. The other officers we meet are located in Kodiak: Sergeant Mike Sortor, and Jamie Ramos, who is the only female cop in the community.
Produced for A&E by the team at Engel Entertainment, Alaska PD sets a dangerous tone from the very beginning: it seems like at any minute of the day the officers are faced with significant threats that are outside the realm of what you'd typically expect.
Remember all that one-to-four bear talk? Well, unless showrunners are releasing bears into the areas that the cops are patrolling, it looks like it's a significant problem for cops to deal with in the area.
In the opening episode, they deal with not one, but two separate bear sightings. In each instance, the officers fire blank rounds into the air to scare the animals off, instead of attempting to harm them. Thankfully, the blanks were enough to send the hulking mammals away from human society, and back to Ursaville.
Even though Gerrit is clearly someone who enjoys throwing down and has to do so in the episode with a suspect, while patrolling and speaking to the camera, he discussed having to "tase" violent perpetrators sometimes, and that it's often the safest way to end a conflict.
Something that may have been necessary in the two domestic disputes cops responded to in the episode. One was in response to a 911 call where a woman's boyfriend, who was armed with a knife and gun, strangled and beat her.
In another dispute, Gerrit manages to bring in a suspect who was hitting a woman in a car. The MMA-fighter-turned-officer eventually finds the suspect hiding in a sporting goods store thanks to good-old-fashioned police work, and apprehends the man.
Although the more dangerous disturbances are what usually make the cut to TV, it's apparent that the Alaska PD officers must also deal with situations that are a little less threatening.
For instance, public drunkenness isn't a crime in Alaska, and as long as someone is able to walk by themselves, no matter how drunk, they're good to go. In the same episode, officers find a completely inebriated man unconscious on the sidewalk. After waking him up and seeing he's fit to stand on his own two legs, they let him go.
So there you have it: real life bears, domestic beatings, and public drunkenness, available for your viewing pleasure on Alaska PD, Thursdays at 9 p.m. on A&E.