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The Mission City Council approved a two-year agreement with the production company behind the A&E television show “Live PD” on Monday.
Mayor Armando “Doc” O’caña and the City Council unanimously approved the agreement with Big Fish Entertainment on Monday afternoon, extending the contract until July 31, 2020.
Broadcast on Friday and Saturday nights, “Live PD” mixes pre-recorded segments with “Almost Live” material from participating law enforcement agencies.
The “Almost Live” video is broadcast with a 10- to 25-minute delay, which allows the department to review the footage for sensitive information. Officers may also request the camera crew stop recording at any time.
Mission started allowing camera crews to accompany patrol officers in 2016, when A&E launched the show.
Under the agreement, “Live PD” follows two or three police officers from the department every season. The camera crews include a videographer, an audio technician and, when necessary, a producer.
“At the very beginning, I was a little bit skeptical,” Dominguez said, adding that he believed “Border Wars” and similar TV shows cast the region in a negative light.
During the past four years, however, “Live PD” broadcast all aspects of police work, Dominguez said. Viewers watched officers make arrests, reunite lost dogs with their owners and skateboard with kids.
Dominguez said that approach set “Live PD” apart from other crime-focused reality TV shows.
“As an example: Same show, ‘Live PD,’ approached me about two months ago. They wanted to do another show. They wanted us to get on another show called ‘Warrants.’ And that’s about kicking in doors with SWAT teams and stuff like that,” Dominguez said. “And, obviously, I believe that that portrayal, even though it’s normal for us in the policing world, it’s nothing to put on television.”
Several officers who appeared on “Live PD” developed large followings on social media. Fans also expressed their condolences after the death of Cpl. Jose Luis “Speedy” Espericueta, who appeared on the show.
“And I wish that everything was perfect in the policing world. It’s not. And I can’t guarantee you that one day we’re not going to have several officers running after somebody and tackling them down on the ground,” Dominguez said. “But that’s what policing is all about: Unfortunately there’s people that abide by the law and people that don’t.”
The show provides Mission with a way to share positive stories with a national audience, said City Councilwoman Jessica Ortega-Ochoa.
“I think it’s the best free publicity that our city can ever have when it comes to deterrence of crime and what the city of Mission is all about,” Ortega-Ochoa said. “So I had no doubt that we needed to continue the program. And I’m so excited that they chose Mission again because I hear that ‘Live PD’ has a waiting list of a lot of departments throughout the country that want to be on it.”
The fourth season of “Live PD” started on Sept. 20.
“Mission Texas PD has been with Live PD since the series’ launch in October 2016, and has come to be a very familiar agency to viewers,” said Dan Cesareo, who is both the president of Big Fish Entertainment and the executive producer of ‘Live PD,’ in a statement. “Production is pleased that both local and national audiences have enjoyed riding along with the officers featured from Mission Texas Police Department, and look forward to having them on the show again for another run.”
This article originally appeared in the Friday Nov. 22, 2019 issue of the Progress Times.