Some cities end their role in A&E’s ‘Live PD’

By The Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. — For some of the law enforcement agencies that agreed to be on A&E Network’s real-time police show “Live PD,” the goal of being more transparent with their profession under increasing scrutiny clashed with concerns over public image.

Police departments in Bridgeport, Connecticut; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Streetsboro, Ohio, decided not to renew their contracts to be on the program since it premiered in October 2016 as some local government leaders concluded the national spotlight on criminal activity overshadowed the positive things happening in their hometowns.

Another department, the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina, ended its run on the show in August, saying deputies needed a break from the cameras.

The show, which airs Friday and Saturday nights, has live camera crews following officers in several police departments as they patrol. There is a delay of five to 20 minutes to prevent the airing of disturbing content or the release of information that could compromise investigations, the show’s producers say.

“As the debate over the policing of America continues to be a part of the daily conversation across the nation, Live PD viewers get unfettered and unfiltered live access inside a variety of the country’s busiest police forces, both urban and rural, and the communities they patrol on a typical night,” the show’s website says.

In Bridgeport, officials were pleased the program showed the hard work and bravery of city police officers, but complaints started rolling in from businesses, the University of Bridgeport and others interested in attracting people and investments to Connecticut’s largest city, said Av Harris, a spokesman for Mayor Joe Ganim.

“If that’s the only thing that’s being publicized nationally about our city, it can have a negative impact,” he said. “We don’t have the Travel Channel doing anything on how wonderful all our economic development projects are.”

Bridgeport, a city with pockets of deep poverty that saw homicides double to 23 last year, left the show in December 2016, less than two months after the series began. During the city’s short run on the program, a police sergeant was arrested on a domestic violence charge, which was later dismissed.