Production crews had hoped to begin filming the officers in May, but city officials reconsidered, saying the show generally depicted only the more sensational aspects of a police officer's work, the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman reported Wednesday.
Assistant City Manager Michael McDonald said he feared viewers might not see, for example, how officers do community policing or talk with neighborhood residents while on patrol.
Kudos to McDonald for taking a responsible approach, even if the media won't. COPS epitomizes the type of coverage that gets in the way of solutions-oriented approaches to crime and justice. The old broadcast news mantra was, "If it bleeds, it leads." But TV shows like COPS and Dallas SWAT made that passe' by letting the blood spill over a whole half hour, dubbing it "reality," and no longer pretending to be anything but adrenaline-pumping entertainment. That leaves viewers with a skewed perspective about criminal justice that profoundly if indirectly impacts public policy.
On COPS, life is a TV show, every officer is a star and every suspect a thug. The real world is a lot more complicated.