MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Spokane to be featured in TV Show COPS’ return, hopes to increase recruitment

Jun 24, 2024, 7:27 AM

COPS Spokane...

A Spokane County Sheriff's Office vehicle. (Photo courtesy of Spokane County Sheriff's Department)

(Photo courtesy of Spokane County Sheriff's Department)

The TV show “COPS” is coming back to Washington to feature a local city — Spokane.

Filming will take place over the summer, following Spokane County Sheriff’s Office deputies stationed both in Spokane Valley and unincorporated areas of the county. Filming starts July 12 for deputies in Spokane Valley, lasting eight weeks. Crews will then follow deputies in unincorporated areas of the county for roughly four weeks, starting Aug. 14.

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Despite concerns Spokane County will be shown in a negative light in the television program, the union will help with staffing and long-term recruitment to the sheriff’s office. Participating in the filming will help the department fill approximately 35 vacant positions at the agency, according to figures provided by Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mark Gregory obtained by The Spokesman-Review.

The Spokane County Commissioners unanimously approved the agreement last Tuesday.

Spokane has been no stranger to “COPS.” The department previously was featured on the show intermittently over a span of 20 years. Spokane County was most recently featured in the fall of 2020, a few months after it was canceled in the U.S. (“COPS” still remained in production shortly after to fulfill contracts overseas that had not yet expired).

Before the show’s cancellation, Pierce County was another Washington-based county prominently featured, as Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer claimed it was great for morale and recruitment.

‘COPS’ in Pierce County: ‘Cops’ return to film Pierce County deputies in action

“We got people sending us emails from all over the country about how professional our guys are,” Troyer said regarding Pierce County’s involvement with “COPS.” “We got guys that saw us on ‘COPS’ applied, and now work for us.”

COPS canceled in 2020

“COPS” premiered on the FOX network in 1989 as a transparent look into the life of law enforcement. Camera crews would capture and document police officers answering calls, going out on patrol and making arrests. FOX canceled the show in 2013 after 25 seasons, with the program finding a new home at the Paramount Network.

But, after nationwide protests in the wake of Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police, Paramount dropped the show from its lineup in 2020. The show was canceled for how its “insensitive” depiction of law enforcement. Critics claimed it glamourized violent crimes, arrests and confrontations.

FOX Nation revived the series in 2021.

More on law enforcement: Auburn Officer Jeff Nelson’s fate now in hands of jury

“COPS is one of the most iconic brands on television with an incredibly passionate fan base,” Jason Klarman, president of Fox Nation, said in a statement obtained by NPR.

Frank Sumrall is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here and you can email him here.

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