ABC will air the first episode of “Homeland Security, USA,” which claims to offer “an unprecedented look at the agencies and people who protect our border.” The show airs tonight at 8 pm EST.

The debut of the “reality series” should open a few eyes on the significant work being done by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on a multitude of issues ranging from international narcotics and human smuggling/trafficking to national security.

The show, filmed with the Department’s cooperation, tracks the daily efforts of the federal agents and law enforcement officers responsible for safeguarding the nation’s borders, ports, waters and airspace.  Shows like this have been attempted over the years with varying degrees of success.

DHS has a great story to tell but the problem the producers and agency face is to find that balance between telling the “first-hand” story of the problems (and the often courageous efforts to overcome them) faced by law enforcement professionals with the fear of, as we say in the trade, “giving up the magic beans.”  Simply put, can you make the story interesting enough without exposing the techniques and methodologies employed by law enforcement to that end – and thereby giving invaluable intelligence to the criminals and terrorists?

The show is a great opportunity to educate the American public on the work DHS does.  I anticipate that the show will be a success, because my experience in over 30 years of federal law enforcement work is that the general public has little idea of the magnitude of the work being done on a daily basis by CBP, ICE, the USCG, FPS, DRO, TSA and the US Border Patrol.

My compliments to DHS and ABC-TV for the effort and anticipated “outreach.”