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Chief has his last on-air laugh

It was inane. It was zany. At times, it might not have made much sense to anyone who wasn't Veid Muiznieks.

But over some 13 years and 143 episodes, 10/8 For Shift, the Newport Chief of Police's eccentric cable access show, was one thing for certain: fun.

"I don't know that I broke any ground in government access TV," the retiring Muiznieks said last week after 10/8 For Shift's final taping, "but I brought something that hadn't been done before."

It was a show that featured wacky, recurring bits like "The Creature" (a googly-eyed sock puppet), prizes that were random to the extreme (like wind-up Mr. Potato Heads or Frisbees -- basically, whatever free toys Muiznieks could get his hands on), and the use of the word decanter (meaning a glass container from which wine is poured) to describe anything from grocery bags to cardboard boxes.

Shockingly, perhaps, 10/8 For Shift -- which means on duty -- began its long run as a serious program on South Washington County Telecommunications Commission's Channel 16. It was the brainchild of the show's first producer, Doug Bondeson, after a string of break-ins around Newport in 1997.

The final monthly show premiers Dec. 1 on SWC-TV Channel 16 and, beyond the program's first moments, was hard-pressed for a staid moment.

So, what happened?

"We gave Veid airtime," Bondeson said.

Muiznieks' irreverent sense of humor is on full display during 10/8's half-hour running time. His goal with the show, the chief said, was always to mix information on crime prevention with laughs. Muiznieks wanted viewers to know: police officers have a funny side.

"Let us show on television that cops have a sense of humor," he said. "So what I did is start incorporating some fun."

Justin Atkinson, who produced the show for the past year agreed there was plenty of fun during the mostly unscripted shows. 10/8 For Shift, Atkinson said, is "definitely the nuttiest" show he produces.

"What Veid does is he comes up with the outline with what he wants to talk about," he said," then we just let the cameras roll."

What happened after that was anybody's guess.

"It was an opportunity to do something totally different, so different than going to a domestic call, so different than going to a call where you know the person is a decedent," Muiznieks said of the stresses of being an officer. "This was an opportunity to give some good info out and have fun."