Tempe, Swiss police swap beats for TV showIf you ask me this sounds like Tempe cops Denison Dawson and Jessica Dever-Jakusz received a vacation in Zurich, Switzerland, paid for by the tax payers of Tempe.
Tempe, Swiss police swap beats for TV show
By Brennan Smith The Republic | azcentral.com Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:25 PM
Tempe police Detectives Denison Dawson and Jessica Dever-Jakusz went out on traffic patrol together, something both officers had done frequently in their tenure with the city.
However, instead of patrolling the streets of Tempe like any other shift, they were 5,750 miles away, checking for violations among the drivers of Zurich, Switzerland.
Dawson and Dever-Jakusz had been whisked away for a week as participants on the Swiss television show “Job Swap,” trading places with two Swiss officers, who came to Tempe to work.
Dawson and Dever-Jakusz, with a combined 23 years on the Tempe force, had little to no idea of what they were getting themselves into.
“Chocolate, cheese and the Alps, that’s all I knew about it. I didn’t really know much about Switzerland,” Dever-Jakusz said. “I tried to Google a little bit, but even then, things were pretty basic.”
She had traveled to Mexico and Canada but had never been abroad. Dawson, however, had never been outside the U.S.
“I saw it as a life-changing experience,” Dawson said. “I’ve never traveled. I’ve never been abroad and I’ve never had a passport, so for me this was all overwhelming.”
The Tempe officers had less than 24 hours between the announcement they had been selected for the show and their flight. On top of it all, Dawson had a phobia of air travel, making the 12-hour journey across the Atlantic even more difficult.
Luckily, Dever-Jakusz had brought a stuffed monkey with her, which Dawson cuddled to ease his nerves.
“I was holding this monkey, caressing it. Any time I felt turbulence and I was shaking, I would squeeze his stomach,” Dawson said. “He was my comfort.”
When they finally arrived, the officers went straight to filming the TV show with no rest for the weary travelers as their life as Zurich police officers began immediately.
On the flip side of the Atlantic, Claudia Brandenberg had arrived in Tempe to begin her time as an exchange officer. Brandenberg, a native of Bern, the Swiss capital, hadn’t owned a television for 15 years and thought the “Job Swap” producers would pick someone “taller and more blonde,” but she applied anyway to appease her sense of adventure.
“I’m always interested in new things. If I can learn something new and get to know new people, especially when I can travel abroad, even better,” Brandenberg said.
Brandenberg had traveled around Europe, Australia, South Africa, Canada and a few places in the U.S., but had little preconception of Arizona. She acknowledged that she didn’t even know how to pronounce “Tempe” initially, but said she felt like a “VIP” from the beginning within the Tempe Police Department.
“They showed us everything and we were like part of the team, not like a visitor,” Brandenberg said. “Of course, we didn’t have our weapons, but when we went on patrol, we were part of the team.” [Maybe the royal rulers of Tempe should take the guns away from ALL their cops, after all the Tempe City Council is a bunch of gun grabbers who want to flush the 2nd Amendment down the toilet and disarm us serfs they rule over]
Brandenberg traveled to Arizona with fellow Officer Harald Plüss, who could not be reached for comment.
They were put to work immediately, splitting time between car patrol, bike patrol and even work with the SWAT team as the cameras rolled to document their time in the desert.
“This is real police work and it’s not so different from the police work we do in Switzerland,” Brandenberg said.
Back in Zurich, Denison and Dever-Jakusz were adjusting to having BMWs as patrol cars and the vastly different rules of the road in Switzerland. For example, motorists can lose their license for passing someone on the right or for braking on the highway, while most towns have only one speed-limit sign that encompasses the entire area.
The two responded to a major single-vehicle crash and were surprised to see the road left open for passing traffic and an on-call doctor responding rather than paramedics or firefighters.
“They don’t shut down the streets, either, which is different. If that was here, until we figured out what was going on, we would have shut down the whole street,” Denison said. [What a novel idea, leaving the road open so that traffic can drive around the accident, instead of causing huge traffic jams like the cops do in Arizona, by totally blocking off the roads!!! I suspect that's for the safety of the officer, and the cops could care less about us serfs that they pretend to serve]
The officers were staying in the picturesque town of Bülach on the outskirts of Zurich, but found they were reminded of home often by the film crew and Swiss police. One of the show’s producers was eating a Snickers candy bar during filming, while several of the officers had ring tones of American songs, including Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.”
In Tempe, Brandenberg found the Arizona heat to be unbearable. Even in the middle of the night during Mill Avenue bike patrols, she was drenched with sweat.
“We went on bike patrol at 2 a.m. in the morning and it was still 33 degrees Celsius (91 degrees Fahrenheit),” Brandenberg said. “It made me feel very hot.”
The Swiss officer said she also found it odd that officers could execute search warrants of homes in the U.S. after the person living there has been arrested.
“This is not possible in Switzerland,” Brandenberg said. “There has to be always someone there because they can accuse officers of theft.” [How nice, the European police actually admit that some cops are crooked, instead of pretending it is impossible for a cop to commit a crime like they do in America]
Amid all the work and filming, all three officers had their chances to have fun. For Dever-Jakusz, it was competing in a regatta, racing a sailboat over the waters of Lake Zurich. Dawson got to drive a Maserati on the autobahn, reaching speeds close to 100 mph that would have earned him a hefty ticket in Tempe. Brandenberg got a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, which she enjoyed, even if she found the Fish River Canyon from her travels in Namibia slightly more impressive. [Yep, just as I said at the begining. It sounds like the cops got a nice vacation paid by the taxpayers of Tempe!!!!]
However, they also said the hectic filming and short visit left little time for actual tourism.
“We didn’t do a lot of sightseeing. It was work, work, work,” Denison said. “We saw the countryside, but we don’t know what all Switzerland has to offer.”
Brandenberg said she couldn’t even describe what the city looked like. She kept seeing pictures of the Mill Avenue Bridge, but had no idea where it was or why it was significant because she was wrapped up in producing the show. [Well duh, probably because it isn't significant, and it's just a stinking bridge that runs over what used to be a dry river, but is now Tempe Town Toilet]
“I have no idea what this bridge is, if this bridge is famous or something like that,” Brandenberg said. “I have no idea.” [Well, Miss Brandenberg, it's not famous, it's just a bridge that goes over Tempe Town Toilet]
All three found that the notion of police camaraderie transcended the differences in culture, making lifelong friendships through a common respect for the badge and the uniform.
“Everywhere we went people knew us,” Dawson said. “They were shaking our hands, taking pictures with us. The royal treatment.” [I bet the only people doing the handshaking and picture taking were their fellow cops. In Tempe, the police are hated by the serfs they rule over]
Brandenberg said she is planning to visit her brother in Atlanta next spring and wants to make a stop in Phoenix along the way. Dawson and Dever-Jakusz are already planning a reunion trip and have invited the officers they worked with in Zurich to come to Arizona.
Dawson, who could barely stomach travel a few weeks ago, now wants to go to Berlin and South Africa. He has caught the travel bug, searching for new cultures like the loving and inspiring one he found in Zurich.
“I need to get stamps,” Dawson said. “I need to get that passport stamped.”
Tempe Center for the Arts
Tempe Cesspool for the Arts