A unique approach to catching alleged criminals in the Tri-Cities has also caught the interest of people on the other side of the world.
It’s called “Busted Bingo” – an online game show launched by the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office to track down some of the county’s most wanted.
Recently, a film crew traveled from Munich, Germany to Sullivan County, to film a documentary on Busted Bingo.
It’s safe to say the online game show has gone viral since the Sheriffs Office debuted it last November. Sheriff Wayne Anderson hosts, and every week, he draws a number that corresponds to a wanted person on the Sheriff’s Office Busted Bingo card.
The videos rack up thousands of views and hundreds of “shares” on social media, most recently catching the eyes of a documentary film crew from Germany.
“We found it very interesting and impressing that police officers find creative and positive solutions to deal with their daily struggles,” said Lena Ledwa, a TV producer based in Munich.
Ledwa says she stumbled upon the Busted Bingo initiative in a New York Times article, admittedly hesitant at first, wondering if the game show actually worked.
“That was our main question, and that made us travel here because we couldn’t believe it,” she said.
“I tell everybody, I say it’s a little silly game, but it works, and we catch a lot of people. We’ve caught 15 out of 24 now,” said Sheriff Anderson.
That was the mission, Anderson says, to create an innovate and playful approach to tackle a real law enforcement issue.
“We work on warrants every single day, every night, 24/7, trying to find people that we have warrants on. But we wanted to come up with a new way, a different way that everybody will watch and it will help us find more people,” the sheriff said.
Every time the week’s episode airs, the sheriff says his office gets called. He says people want to turn in someone they know is wanted, and sometimes, even turn in themselves.
“He said ‘I’m wanted.’ And I said Busted Bingo. And he said, ‘Yep I’m number one,”‘ Anderson explained.
The documentary on Busted Bingo will air in Germany in about three weeks on what the producer called the biggest TV show for young people in that country.
You can watch the latest episode of Busted Bingo on the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page or on YouTube.
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