MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A Florida sheriff is giving the search for criminals a creative spin in his game show-style weekly videos featuring Brevard County’s most wanted fugitives.
The videos, posted on Facebook, have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, leading to dozens of arrests.
For the last eighteen months, a studio at the sheriff’s office has become must-see viewing in the county.
Sheriff Wayne Ivey – the show’s Pat Sajack – had the idea and the personality to host it.
“When we put someone up on the Wheel of Fugitive, our citizens start sending us messages and contacting us right away,” said Ivey.
In the videos, Ivey spins a wheel with the names and photos of ten wanted fugitives and highlights an unlucky “winner.”
Dozens of fugitives have been arrested or turned themselves in. Last month, the wheel picked Teaon Gay. He was in custody within a day.
“The fugitives watch it. It’s amazing how many of them when they’re arrested say, hey yeah, I saw it, or my family notified me about it. In fact, we’ve had fugitives that say, yeah I watch it every week to see if I’m on the wheel,” said Ivey.
Fugitive Alicia Pack posted on Facebook that she saw herself on the show and said she was going to the beach where police tracked her down.
“They ended up having to taser her, so we put up on our Facebook page, tanned, tased and arrested all on the same day,” said Ivey.
As for what about the videos connects to people, Ivey says it’s got something different.
“One, there’s a little bit of humor mixed in it. Two, people a least in our community and I think in most communities in law enforcement, want to be engaged with law enforcement…it reaches out to them and gives them an opportunity to do it,” said Ivey.
Sheriff Ivey’s favorite show was Ladies Night which had female fugitives listed.
There is some criticism over the videos. Some object that his approach is nothing more than public shaming.
“It reinforces the public’s blood lust for seeing people punished. It also reinforces the offender’s sense of being rejected and excluded from society,” said Jeffrey Butts with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Sheriff Ivey says to this – don’t become a fugitive.
“If you don’t want to be on the Wheel of Fugitive, don’t commit a crime in Brevard County. Don’t be a fugitive in Brevard County, because our team is going to come after you, our community is going to come after you,” said Ivey.
Click here to see more on Wheel of Fugitives or watch a full video below.