Two members of the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Palmetto Bay Village Policing Unit had a chance to display their skills before a national television audience on Aug. 16, and won the $100,000 prize in the process.
The ABC Television reality show, Take the Money and Run, pits a team of real police detectives against a competing team of civilian “suspects” who must hide an attaché case containing $100,000 so no one can find it.
The police use standard investigative procedures and questioning to try to find it and the suspect team can use their wits and deception to try to prevent that. Whichever team succeeds within the 48- hour time limit wins the money.
Jorge Montero is the sergeant with the General Investigations Unit and Manny Munoz is the sergeant with the Uniformed Patrol Unit. The team-up on the reality show came naturally to them.
“We were partners together when we were both detectives a couple of years ago, before we got promoted to the rank of sergeant,” Sgt Montero said. “So our experience together goes back to then.”
Montero explained that when ABC Television picked up the show and the producers were ready to cast for it, they sent out emails to various police departments saying they were looking for detectives interested in trying out for it.
“They didn’t say too much about what it was going to be about,” Montero said. “They asked the typical questions of what would we do with the $100,000, why would we choose us to be on our show, what experience do we have, why are both of us such a good team together?”
Montero and Munoz filled out the application and sent it in. The producers apparently liked what they saw, called them to set up an appointment and interviewed them on camera to see if they had “the look.”
“This was back in November of 2010,” Montero said. “In January they finally called and told us we were chosen to be on the show. It was taped in February, and we had to wait for it to air.”
The tough part was not only having to wait six months to see it on TV, but also not being able to tell anybody about it during that time because revealing the concept of the show and the outcome of their particular “case” ahead of time would have ruined everything. Keeping the secret was harder for another reason, too.
“Considering that I work with detectives in the unit, you can imagine the type of questioning I got,” Montero said with a chuckle. “They would conspire together, trying to figure which way to get me to tell them what happened or give them a hint. But they couldn’t break me.”
The other tricky part was that, although they were doing the kind of investigative work they were used to, they were doing it with a camera crew following them around recording every moment of it.
“They explained to me that if it’s a show that is scripted like CSI Miami or any typical show like that, if there’s an error that’s made they can yell “cut” and retake the scene,” Montero said. “In reality TV there are no retakes, so I knew that if I tripped and fell that might be in there. I had to think before I spoke and remind myself that I was always on camera and there was always a microphone attached to my shirt.”
Montero said that although he initially signed on because he thought it would be nice to win the prize and fun to be on TV, as the taping date grew closer he became concerned.
“I consider myself a professional; I take my job very seriously and I’ve created a reputation over 15 years,” Montero said. “On top of that, I’m a supervisor and have subordinates who look up to me. So it finally got to the point that I wanted to win, not only for the money, but to show everybody that I do have the skills, that I can lead and supervise.”
Their friends and working associates were very encouraging and supporting during the whole process, which may have put added pressure on them to succeed. But it worked out okay.
“I’m happy and my partner is happy,” Montero said. “I believe it was a once-in-alifetime opportunity and I’m glad that something positive came out of it.”