Yep, its true. Former toughest man champion, boxer, kick boxer and professional wrestler Eric Esch, better known as “Butterbean”. has turned up in his reality show in the ID (Investigation Discovery) Channel as a Sheriff Deputy in rural Jasper, Alabama where he lives. He is a 4o0 pound teddy bear with a gun, or that’s how the show is set up. From the show’s web site…
“Former heavyweight boxer Eric Esch, more popularly known as Butterbean, barreled into the national ring in the '90s like a 400-pound wrecking ball clad in American flag shorts. Now, Butterbean is taking his hard-earned, tough guy reputation to the streets of his hometown: he's been deputized by the Walker County Sheriff's office, and he's on a one-man mission to bring back a sense of community safety… no matter how many butts he has to kick”.
Its not too heavy or serious and it really seams like Butterbean is serious about cleaning up drugs in his hometown. Matter of fact the entire first two episodes seem like a rebirth of the “just say no” campaign. Busting meth labs and pot growers s all the show concentrated on, with Butterbean constantly reinforcing the fact that drugs were bad and that’s why he was doing law enforcement. He also makes an attempt to “mentor” the people they bust and try to make a difference in their lives and get them on a the straight and narrow. Too bad you just popped each one with a drug charge Bean, kind of hard to get a job in a Fortune 500 with one of those on your record.
One thing I question on the show is training. Bean is seen on a search of a reported meth lab (which was a disgusting pigs sty – drugs ARE bad) but later is seen (in one of the episodes) being taught on doing room clearing. I am assuming (hopefully) that the scenes were edited in reverse order and he got trained BEFORE the raid. This is not unusual though I suspect. I found out while doing some research on this show that the similar reality show Steven Seagal:Lawman on the A&E Network has had issues with Seagal’s (who has been a deputy sheriff for 20+ years) reported accreditation. Apparently in Louisiana (and Alabama I suspect in this case) that deputized officers of the law may be allowed to perform duties as long as they are partnered with an accredited officer, which in this case he is. In the first episode the show also shows Butterbean “riding the lightning” while being certified on the Taser, now that was fairly funny. Matter of fact, it seems like he handled the jolt pretty well, maybe being as big as he is the current has a harder time totally taking down a big guys system. Don’t get me wrong, he was incapacitated but he was able to speak and stand the entire time, which seems to be pretty good according to his partner.
Speaking of his partner, Adam Hadder is the actual “brains” of the operation, so to speak. No Butterbean isn’t an idiot and just there for show. He actually does a good job doing his part as a reserve deputy on the show. Adam is the professional though. He demonstrates and teaches Bean some very good points on handgun handling in CQB situations and room clearing and the like. Just as a point of interest, they are shown being armed by some type of full size Glock, probably a G22 or G17. One thing I like about the show is that even though it takes place in a rural area that obviously does not have the same resources as a large LE agency for training and facilities, the professionalism and commitment shown by these small town lawmen is the same that you would find in a larger department, maybe even more so because, as Butterbean points out, that they are much closer to the town itself and its problems than a larger city cop may be.
I am not knocking the guy or the show, matter of fact we watched both episodes off of the DVR and liked it. Butterbean seems like a honest to goodness nice guy, a fact supported by anecdotal evidence on the internet. His larger than life presence on the show does offer some surreal affect to the overall show, but not so much as to make you doubt its authenticity. One thing about this series it that it does show that drug abuse is not just a big city problem. If meth and the like can make it to small towns like Jasper than we all should watch our own back yards for its negative affects on our local community and fight back however we can. No, Butterbean cannot clean up all of Jasper by himself but if his being on a show can make us take a look and care about what we can do locally to fight drug abuse all the better he is on there. I, for one, will be watching.
Big Law: Deputy Butterbean airs Sunday nights at 10pm EST on the Investigation Discovery channel.