On Patrol Back on the Air

After a two-year hiatus, On Patrol — the locally produced reality show chronicling life on the streets as experienced by officers with the Santa Barbara Police Department — will soon be hitting the airwaves and coaxial cables of KEYT again. City Administrator Jim Armstrong pulled the plug on the show — most popular with the young male demographic — in August 2011, claiming the show’s producer, Ira Distenfield, who’d worked closely with the chief and the police union until that point, was $30,000 behind in payments to City Hall. Distenfield sued, charging breach of contract. He also claimed that Karen Flores, the department’s former business manager now facing embezzlement charges, skimmed off some of the payments he insists he made. After a protracted legal battle, the two sides settled under terms allowing both to claim victory. Included in those terms are conditions allowing Distenfield to broadcast episodes he shot before Armstrong stopped the show but never aired.

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