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Policing isn't entertainment; Tulsa should pull the plug on 'Live PD': Tulsa World editorial

Policing isn't entertainment; Tulsa should pull the plug on 'Live PD': Tulsa World editorial

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GANG UNIT (copy) (copy)

The A&E program “Live PD” features Tulsa police Sgt. Sean “Sticks” Larkin. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World file

For weeks, Mayor G.T. Bynum has been under pressure from people who say the Tulsa Police Department should discontinue its cooperation with the television program “Live PD.”

The A&E program features TPD Sgt. Sean “Sticks” Larkin and includes video of police work in Tulsa and elsewhere around the nation. It captures people in some of the worst moments of their lives and broadcasts it for our entertainment.

But Bynum has been steadfast in his decision to stay with “Live PD.”

During one of his recent town hall discussions, Bynum was publicly confronted by a Tulsan insisting that he cancel the city’s involvement with the program.

“No, I will not,” he said. “Because I think it is important for the people to see what our officers actually deal with out in the field.”

The answer was straightforward, unequivocal and, we think, wrong.

We’ve said before and still believe that any benefits that come from documenting police life are far outweighed by the obvious damage done to the city and its citizens. It doesn’t help the city’s image or improve police relationships with various communities. We can’t see any value in continuing it.

We found former Police Chief Drew Diamond’s recent argument against the city’s involvement with “Live PD” especially convincing.

At a recent press conference held by the program’s opponents, Diamond said, “Policing is not about entertainment.

“If you in the news media want to be in the car, you can be in the car. That’s news; this is about entertainment,” he said. “They are using the officers and the city for entertainment value. It’s bad policing; it’s bad policy; and it needs to be stopped.”

It should be remembered that the city cut ties with “Live PD” once before. Two years ago, the program spent a season following the TPD Gang Unit, but Chief Chuck Jordan didn’t renew the contract, saying it wasn’t in the best interest of the department.

That was right then, and it’s right now. It isn’t in the best interest of the department or the city.


Q&A on ‘Live PD’ and how city councilors feel

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