Spokane’s NAACP president worries return of ‘COPS’ will do more harm than good

SPOKANE, Wash. — After networks pulled the plug this summer, the popular TV show ‘COPS’ is expected to return. 

In fact, it’s being filmed in Spokane right now. 

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office says two camera crews will be riding along with deputies through November, putting Spokane County and its criminals in the national spotlight. 

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich says shows like COPS are important because they give the public a better sense of what deputies go through every day, and how quickly situations can escalate. 

READ: Despite earlier cancellation, ‘COPS’ film crews ride again with Spokane Co deputies 

On the other hand, Spokane’s NAACP President Kurtis Robinson believes the show disproportionately shows people of color when they are most vulnerable. 

The show COPS has captivated the country since it first aired in 1989. In the wake of protests and the death of George Floyd, networks decided to cancel the show over the summer. Now, it appears to be making a comeback. 

“We definitely have some mixed feelings,” said Robinson. 

He says people of color have not been portrayed well on the series. He says the timing to bring back the show, especially in Spokane, worries him. 

“Throughout the criminal justice system, people of color are disproportionately represented and this does not help that,” said Robinson. 

Sheriff Knezovich has defended the show, and his decision to bring camera crews back, saying in part: 

People need to see how quickly things can turn, the decisions that need to be made quickly, and how well Deputies and Officers adjust and respond appropriately.  They show the hard work and professionalism of law enforcement, despite what some anti-law enforcement activists and those in the media want you to believe.”

Robinson thinks suspects on the show deserve to have their identities hidden. He argues the show does nothing to build trust between law enforcement and the people they serve, especially communities of color. 

4 News Now reached out to Langley Productions, the company behind the show for a comment, but did not hear back. 

It’s unclear when episodes shot in Spokane County will air. However, according to the show’s website, audiences can watch the next episode October 11 on WGN America.