SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane County Sheriff's Office has been filmed by the show “Cops” for a number of years. Earlier this summer, they took it one step further, allowing live cameras to film their every move for the A&E channel show “Live PD.”
Every Friday and Saturday night officers around the nation get in to their vehicles with a camera crew to give an unfiltered, live look at life in law enforcement.
For three hours producers switch to the craziest footage they have coming in. On Friday viewers around the country watched deputies with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office engaged in a high speed chase with Jorel Fultz, whose charges include assaulting a cast member on the Deadliest Catch.
The chase itself raised questions as speeds reached 90 miles an hour, Fultz ran red lights, avoided spike strips and jumped a center divider. Many wondered if it should have been called off for safety reasons but Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich defends the department's decision to continue the pursuit.
“He actually created a life-threatening event by the way he way driving and even the supreme court has recognized with those types of factors- you need to get them,” explained Sheriff Knezovich.
The department does not receive any payment for their participation on “Live PD.” Sheriff Knezovich says the reason they decided to put their deputies center stage was because they hoped it would give their recruitment a much needed boost. They've been feeling the pressure to put more deputies on their already slim force. Sheriff Knezovich says it would take an additional 100 deputies for them to be operating at their greatest potential.
Knezovich added: “anything we can do to get exposure for the agency so people can see how we work, see that its a quality agency. Maybe they want to take a look at joining the force.”
It comes at the cost of burning out their current staff.
“Imagine trying to be in that pursuit, trying to think about all the things you have to think about
on top of talking to somebody on camera and having that camera sitting right next to you. They have to weigh all of those factors and its like having divided attention doing your job and it gets really difficult at times. ” Knezovich said.
Monday morning commanders met to discuss the future of the Spokane County Sheriff's Office with “Live PD.” Their contract with the show is by season. With season two set to begin filming soon, Sheriff Knezovichs' next conversation will be with program to decide what to do next.