People & Places

Million-dollar cop : Cedar Rapids police investigator wins "Survivor: Game Changers" reality show

Timothy Kuratek/CBS Entertainment

Sarah Lacina, a Cedar Rapids police investigator, won the $1 million prize in
Timothy Kuratek/CBS Entertainment Sarah Lacina, a Cedar Rapids police investigator, won the $1 million prize in “Survivor: Game Changers.” The season finale aired Wednesday tonight on CBS. It was her second time playing the arduous test of mental, physical and social stamina, filmed this time on a remote island in Fiji last summer. She placed 11th out of 18 in “Survivor: Cagayan,” filmed in the Philippines in 2013.

We have another Sole Survivor. Cedar Rapids police investigator Sarah Lacina used her training and instincts to win $1 million on “Survivor: Game Changers.”

“It was an epic win,” host Jeff Probst said as cheers erupted when every vote for her was announced in the Season 34 finale last night (Wednesday) on CBS-TV.

Vowing to play a different game this time around worked for Lacina, 32, of Marion, who set aside the “good cop” strategy that got her voted out of her previous “Survivor” challenge in 2013, when she placed 11th out of 18 contestants in the Philippines.

“You have to strike first in this game,” she told the ousted players who cast the deciding votes in Fiji last summer. “I hope you can respect the game play.”

During Wednesday’s live reveal from the CBS Studio Center in Los Angeles, she told her fellow contestants, “I’m proud of the way I played, not about the way I treated people,” pointing out that deception is part of the strategy to “outwit, outplay, outlast.”

Season 34 of the popular CBS reality test of stamina and strategy played out over 39 days last summer in Fiji’s remote Mamanuca Islands. All 20 contestants had played the game before, and were invited back for another stab at the physical, mental and social trials that would get people voted off the island, eventually winnowing the field to six going into the two-hour finale.

“My training and ability to adapt saves my life at work every day,” she said, and gained her a spot among the final three in the winner’s circle, too. But employing deception was the hardest tactic to add to her arsenal.

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“When I got back after the first time, my co-workers were like, ‘Why didn’t you just lie?’ I was afraid I would dishonor our profession as a police officer,” she told The Gazette in March, after the first episode aired. “Everybody else realized I was playing a game but me. This isn’t real life. It doesn’t reflect on who you are.”

With this win, she is the second local resident to be crowned the Sole Survivor. Denise Stapley of Cedar Rapids emerged victorious in Season 25, filmed in the Philippines.

l Comments: (319) 368-8508; diana.nollen@thegazette.com

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