Spokane County Sheriff rallies for reality cop TV show to return

SPOKANE, Wash. — Reality cop TV is back, and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office wants to be a part of a new series.

According to the Network Reelz, the “On Patrol: Live” TV show will kick off this summer. It’s similar to the show Live PD, which was A&E’s highest-rated show. However, it went off the air shortly after the George Floyd murder and police protests.

Cop television has been filmed on local streets for over 20 years, and if the Sheriff has his way, that will continue. While there are limited details about the release of On Patrol: Live, the Sheriff says he’s already in talks about bringing crews back to Spokane.

“It showed people in this region their law enforcement out on the street, doing their job…and it helped with our recruiting,” said Sheriff Knezovich.

The sheriff says it gave people a chance to see them on the job.

“You fail to understand that sometimes when we have to take action, it doesn’t look pretty on camera,” he said.

Critics of the shows say it’s not exactly reality. The non-profit journalism group ‘The Marshall Project’ published a report back in 2020 looking at the transparency of these live police shows. In one case, Spokane County deputies pulled a domestic violence victim out of her home, but it never aired on tv, because The Marshall Project says the undersheriff had concerns about how the case was handled.

Sheriff Knezovich doesn’t deny his department made the request, but he says he didn’t agree with it.

“My opinion — we should have run it. There was nothing in there that was all that bad,” he added. “An undersheriff made a call just like the deputy on the street made a call, so my opinion, there’s really nothing to hide here.”

Critics of the show say it’s not exactly reality. Back in 2018, the Spokane City Council restricted the filming of shows like this within city limits.

RELATED: Spokane City Council votes for restrictions on reality shows like COPS, Live PD

Other cities across the country have also limited taping of shows like this because it made communities look bad and promoted dangerous stereotypes.

Last year, Texas passed a law preventing reality TV shows from partnering with state law enforcement after a man was killed while the show was being filmed.