Pierce County, Wash. - Two South Sound police agencies will not appear on the reality show "Cops" next season, but for different reasons.
The Lakewood City Council said "No" when producers approached them. City council member Helen McGovern-Pilant calls the show "exploitation."
Back when Lakewood contracted with Pierce County for police services, the community showed up so much on "Cops", McGovern-Pilant says she would hear comments from people around the country that Lakewood was a high-crime city. She says "Cops" won't help the city's image as it tries to attract new businesses. "When you are being looked at in a positive light for economic development, it just doesn't make any sense to me to go down another path where people might be viewing you not so positively," McGovern-Pilant said.
The Pierce County Sheriff's Department will also not appear on "Cops" this year. The department last participated in 2011 and has been featured in more than 150 segments since the show began.
Pierce County Detective Ed Troyer says a budget crunch means the department is down deputies, and not able to provide enough consistency for the show's producers. "They like to follow the same two or three deputies and get used to them, and right now that's just not possible with the situation we're in," Troyer said.
Troyer had nothing but good things to say about collaborating with "Cops" and hopes to do it again in the future. He says the show is good for department morale, is an effective recruitment tool, and shows the professionalism of the force. "We don't believe it makes Pierce County look bad," Troyer said. "In fact, we think it makes Pierce County look good. You see a lot of scenery shots, you see a lot of the great people who work out here and you see that we can take care of business."