'Live PD' to return to Oklahoma with highway patrol
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is about to get a major closeup.
A&E Network’s “Live PD” will begin filming March 29 with troopers primarily in the Tulsa and Oklahoma City areas. The program airs a live broadcast of law enforcement officers on patrol from 9 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
“I’m excited to showcase the skill, compassion and humility of the men and women of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol for the Live PD Nation,” Chief Michael Harrell said. “Troopers are accustomed to performing their daily duties with little attention, so this will be a new experience for them, but I am looking forward to introducing viewers around the country to the best law enforcement in America.”
“Live PD” offers a mostly unedited view of police operations across the United States. A studio host and an analyst give commentary throughout the broadcast.
Big Fish Entertainment signed an agreement with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety lasting through Feb. 21, 2020. The agreement includes an extension option to Feb. 21, 2021.
“Live PD” producers will have access to Highway Patrol vehicles, stations and jail facilities while accompanying troopers on patrol, according to the agreement letter.
The program will air on a slight delay to censor intense or disturbing footage, said Sarah Stewart, DPS director of media operations. Stewart said the Highway Patrol will have some control over which scenes can air to ensure investigations and classified information aren’t jeopardized.
“I think one of the benefits is transparency because it’s a live show and an unfiltered show; it’s like the viewer is in the front seat,” Stewart said. “They’re going to realize these troopers are real people with real feelings. They’re not just someone who’s going to come and give them a ticket.”
Entering its third season, “Live PD” will make its second venture into Oklahoma. The show filmed with the Tulsa Police Department in its first season from October 2016 to January 2017.
The Tulsa Police Department declined to renew its contract with the show after Chief Chuck Jordan, Mayor G.T. Bynum and Tulsa residents took issue with the negative exposure the city received. Bynum praised Jordan’s decision to end TPD’s relationship with the show, saying the camera crews could be a distraction to officers.
“I’m not worried about public relations,” Bynum told the Tulsa World. “I’m worried about the safety of our officers and our citizens.”
Despite the program’s history in Tulsa, Oklahoma troopers are looking forward to the “Live PD” filming, Stewart said. The department also hopes TV exposure could help attract more recruits.
DPS Commissioner Rusty Rhoades said the Highway Patrol is “honored to join the Live PD family.”
“We are proud of the 82-year legacy of the patrol and the troopers who continue to put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve all those who travel Oklahoma’s roadways,” he said. “This partnership can only enhance the relationships our personnel have established in the communities where they live and work while introducing them to the rest of America.”