(And I’ve Never Been the Deputy)
A number of years ago now, early in the run of the Fox Network’s long-running show Cops, the producers spent several episodes chronicling the exploits of an undercover investigator for the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department named John Bunnell. In the years following this sudden fame, he rose through the ranks, hosted an ABC series called American Detective, ran for County Sheriff, eventually retired from law enforcement, and became the public face of World’s Wildest Police Videos (as well as lending his voice to the video console game based on the show).
Now as it happens, I lived in – well, on the western edge of – Multnomah County for twenty-five years. But the retired sheriff and I are two different people; we’ve never met, I’ve no idea how to get in touch with him, and so far as I know we’re not related. [Well, all right, it’s likely we’re both descended from a Bunnell who came over from England in the 1600s, but that’s as close as it probably gets.]
This has not stopped people from writing or calling from time to time, hoping to get in touch with the retired sheriff/TV host. I once came home to find a phone message from 60 Minutes on my answering machine…and on one occasion, a clerk from a county office called, trying to track him down so they could update their own records! I tell everyone what I’ve said here; I don’t know his phone number or address, have no expertise in police work, and am not in contact with any of the production companies for the various police video series on which he appeared.