It seems like sometimes the best stories are the ones that are almost accidental. I was at the Yolo County Board of Supervisor’s Meeting yesterday for the Medical Marijuana issue and a “Cops” episode broke out.
Actually is was an agenda item that proposed a reality television show to follow around the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office and chronicle their every moves–or at least all of their positive moves.
Scott Hervey from Weintraub was the person handling the arrangements.
The entire idea provoked considerable concern from members of the County Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Hervey in addition to Sheriff Ed Prieto and District Attorney Jeff Reisig asserted repeatedly that this will not portray Yolo County law enforcement in a negative light. Moreover the Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office has complete control over content and can prevent any information from coming forth that is negative or reflects negatively on the department or the county. Repeatedly they mentioned this will cast the department only in a positive light.
Supervisor Matt Rexroad had some concerns. He did not want this to portray the county in any sort of negative light. “I do not want this to turn into Reno 911.” He said he would feel more comfortable with county counsel having veto rights to content written into the contract.
Mr. Hervey stopped short of that guarantee in the contract but did try to alleviate that concern.
Supervisor Thomson was concerned that the public defender was not represented in this negotiation process. At least 20 percent of prison population is severely mentally ill. Who will sign for them? Will their rights be properly represented. Also, concerned with confidentiality issues. What happens if this impacts some trial in court negatively? She said she was not interested in sensationalism, but rather she was interested in telling the real story. But that’s exactly the problem, the real story is often boring and sometimes casts things negatively.
In the most humorous moment of the proceedings, Supervisor Duane Chamberlain referred to District Attorney Reisig and Sheriff Ed Prieto as “Rocky and Bullwinkle.”
All joking aside, the Board of Supervisors seemed very uncomfortable at least at this point with the proposal and the lack of information that they had on this prior to it coming before them.
My concern is that here we have a system that has numerous very serious complaints and lawsuits against it and it is going to be portrayed in a very sanitized version to the public. The Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s office gets full editorial control? That’s not information, that’s propaganda. The ugly sides of the operations will never make the air but we will see the Sheriff’s Deputy walking the old lady across the street, so to speak.
This does not seem to serve the public’s interest whatsoever. The only way this is going to sell is if there is something entertaining and sensational about it. So if that’s not going to be about the Sheriff’s themselves, it has to be about someone? Some poor mentally disabled person who acts crazy? Is that what entertainment has come down to?
This seems a very inappropriate endeavor for our county and hopefully it is ultimately rejected by our elected official.
I like “Cops” as much as the next person, but sanitizing law enforcement does no one any good.
—Doug Paul Davis reporting