BEND, Ore. - You may have seen a group of people in Central Oregon representing the "Dutch Berry Sheriff's Office." It's not a real law enforcement agency. It’s for a Redmond man's hit show on YouTube.
The YouTube account is called Patty Mayo, and it has 4.7 million subscribers. The show follows around the DBSO as they catch "criminals."
Everyone in the show is a paid actor, but it's meant to look like reality television. There's no disclaimer that says it's fictional, and there are no film credits.
Under each video, the description says it's “not intended for training, education or any other purpose.” However, with the sheriff's vest and badge, some people in the community have mistaken them for real law enforcement officers.
"Someone will say, ‘Hey, thanks for your service.’ And we say, ‘Oh no, we're here for production,”’ Mayo said Thursday. “We're not sheriff's officers. The intent is to create a production, it's not to commit a crime. And so that's why before we even purchased the cars for this show, or any equipment, we sat down with the police department and said, this is what we'd like to do. What do you think?”
People on the production team wear bright yellow vests that say "Film Crew." If anyone happens to be walking by during the scene, there is a dedicated member of the crew to go tell that person exactly what's going on.
Deschutes County sheriff's Sgt. William Bailey said Mayo wants to have a good relationship with Central Oregon law enforcement agencies, to avoid any problems.
"He's been very good about calling into dispatch,” Bailey said, “communicating with law enforcement on the date and time that he is going to be making a video and letting us know where and when he is doing these videos, so that we don't have a situation where we have a real cop showing up at a fake law enforcement scenario.”
The sheriff's spokesman did say someone in Redmond expressed concerns about Mayo's productions. So it has asked Mayo to stop filming in public locations without the proper security, permits (when necessary) and road closures. The DCSO has also strongly encouraged Mayo and his actors to not wear their "sheriff's officer" costumes in public.
But Bailey said Mayo has never represented himself as a real law enforcement officer. Oregon law is specific in determining when someone is impersonating a police officer, and making YouTube videos with paid actors does not violate that law.
Mayo said he wants to use his platform to serve the Central Oregon community in a different way. For some sketches, Mayo and his team hired homeless people so they could earn some cash. Additionally, Mayo said he helped one family pay its mortgage for a month after members acted in an episode.