Spokane, WA – The Spokane city council passed an ordinance last week which effectively bans police reality TV shows like A&E’s “Live PD” from filming in their city.
The city council expressed concern that these shows make the city look bad, and claimed that they violate people’s privacy, according to KREM.
The new ordinance narrowly targets for-profit police shows like Live PD, and hits them with requirements which would make production near-impossible.
First producers must obtain a permit from the city in order to operate. It’s not clear if the city would even grant such a permit.
Then all people captured on camera must sign a video release form, even if they are recorded in a public area. This would be impossible in a live police show like Live PD.
All footage is required to be reviewed by city employees, who are granted full power to revise or delete any content which shows a city police officer. This would also be impossible for Live PD.
City police officers are also prohibited from cooperating with these shows without express written permission from the police chief or city administrator.
This will not affect the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, which is the agency in the area that works with Live PD.
Penalties for violating the constitutionally questionable ordinance involve a $250 fine.
Several other law enforcement agencies announced in January that they are ending their agreements with Live PD.
Local government leaders, not in law enforcement, have determined that the TV show made their communities look bad, according to KXLY.
Bridgeport, Connecticut; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Streetsboro, Ohio have all decided to shield the public from seeing their citizens interacting with law enforcement.
Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim whined about Live PD recording in a year when Bridgeport’s homicide rate has doubled, according to FOX News. “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.”
Streetsboro City Council president John Ruediger wasn’t happy with the show either, and suggested that canceling participation was done to protect children.
“I personally thought it portrayed our city in a negative light,” Ruediger said, according to FOX News. “I think every city has its share of problems, and I don’t think it’s always best to highlight those issues. I was personally concerned that any kid featured on the show could end up bullied … especially if their parent is on the show doing something bad.”
However, Jeffersonville, Indiana Assistant Chief Michael McVoy thinks that the show is great.
“For us, it’s humanizing the badge, No. 1,” he said, according to FOX News. “For every 1,000 positive comments or likes or social media hits or fuzzy, warm feelings we get from across the country, there are always five or 10 that say, ‘Hey. Why are you arresting this guy for marijuana possession?’ Stuff like that. Some people don’t see eye to eye with what we do.”
The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said that they would be withdrawing temporarily from the show so that they can focus on recruitment, but they intend to start back up later. It’s not clear what complications may arise if any of the deputies with Live PD cameramen enter the Spokane city limits.
UPDATE: The sheriff’s office told Blue Lives Matter that the ordinance would not affect them, only the Spokane Police Department which does not currently work with Live PD.
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich voiced opposition to the city’s ordinance.
“This is tantamount to almost censorship,” Sheriff Knezovich told KXLY.
The sheriff added that the show is positive for law enforcement, “This is really dispelling a lot of myths about how we treat people, the way we conduct business. It is showing that we do have great compassion for people that we deal with.”