Burbank officers on the set

Laura Sturza

Not all uniformed officers on Burbank movie sets are actors

wearing costumes.

Many are Burbank Police and Fire officials, whom production

companies must hire to ensure safety at film shoots in public places.

Police officers direct traffic when a street or sidewalk is closed

for filming and manage audience control at tapings of live programs.

They also help carry out the terms of the film permit approved by

the city.

"They're friendly people who everyone gets along with very well,"

"Tonight Show" production manager Tom Patino said.

Though the NBC program rarely had police on the set prior to Sept.

11, it now has officers there every day, Patino said.

While remaining responsive to filmmakers' requests for specific

locations, the city is careful to not allow productions in the same

area too often. The policy means that no one group of residents or

businesses feels burdened, Police Sgt. Pat Lynch said.

"It's nice that our city is receptive to the filming industry,"

Lynch said. "They encourage us to try and promote it."

Fire officials are hired to oversee lighting safety on indoor

shoots and when special effects are being filmed.

"They say they want to explode this car, just this one little

car," city film permit coordinator Norma Brolsma said. "Then I refer

them to the Fire Department."

Fire personnel also maintain crowd control when hundreds of people

are gathered in a warehouse.

"If we did not have a fire safety officer on duty, the chances for

disaster or problem are a lot higher," Fire Engineer/ Inspector Kirk

Wishart said.

The potential of injury to actors and crew members goes up when

filming stunt shots or using pyrotechnics -- anything with "a boom or

a blast or an explosion," Wishart said.

Officers cover the motion picture beat on their time off. The city

charges the production company for the officers' time, then pays the

officers' salaries, about $52 hourly, so they are still city

employees on a film shoot. Retired officers can also be hired

directly by the company.

"It's show biz, that's exciting," Wishart said. "I get as much or

more enjoyment watching the technical part of the production ...

we've nurtured a real nice relationship with them."

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