The Tulsa Police Department’s participation in the television program “Live PD” hasn’t helped the city’s image or improved police relationships with various communities, and we can’t see any value in continuing it.
The A&E series follows police departments from across the country as officers make arrests. Often, these are routine arrests of people who are in a mental health crisis, inebriated or in other high-stress situations.
Nothing in the broadcasts are aspects to attract people, commerce or employers to these cities.
Two years ago, TPD cut ties with “Live PD” after a season following the gang unit. Chief Chuck Jordan said it wasn’t in the best interest of the department to renew the contract.
In its return to Tulsa, Sgt. Shane Tuell said changes include broadcasting patrols in every section of the community. He said the program would highlight the training, preparedness and professionalism of the officers.
Mayor Bynum supported the decision stating, “… it can be valuable to see it for yourself rather than to rely on the assertions of others. Tulsans will benefit from seeing the work their police officers do every day.”
Only, these are snippets of police work, chosen and edited for maximum entertainment and ratings.
It comes at the expense of the city’s most vulnerable populations, particularly those with mental health needs or facing obstacles of generational poverty. It ignores the best Tulsa has to offer.
Instead, the featured cities become associated with the people and places where arrests are made. These scenarios can be scary and frightening, giving viewers a version of Tulsa that no one would want to encourage.
Frankly, it’s incredible any city would consent to be featured in the program.
TPD doesn’t need a TV program to validate its value to the community. Tulsa doesn’t need this kind of exposure.
TPD leaders should re-think the city’s position and opt out of future seasons.