Jeffersonville bows out of A&E's 'Live PD' reality series
JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- The city of Jeffersonville quietly ended its participation in the cable reality series "Live PD" as a legal battle over whether the show's raw footage should be considered evidence plays out in court.
Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore said the issues were "not related" and that he was "not aware" of subpoenas relating to the show's video from criminal cases.
"Everything has been great," Moore said. "It was a one-year experience that proved to be very good for us. I'm glad we tried it out. It gave everyone a chance to see what the Jeffersonville Police Department does."
In that inaugural year, the blue and red lights of the A&E series shined brightly on the southern Indiana town, offering a raw, real-time look at officers on the job.
"I think, like a lot of us, it's like stopping to see a train wreck," viewer Lindon Dodd said. "It's always interesting to see what's going on out there."
Working in the state's probation system, Dodd said he sometimes saw suspects on the show and then in person on the job.
"All the time, yes, because I do have an office in the jail currently, so we run across each other," Dodd said.
Jeffersonville ended its participation in the show in April, according to Moore, but local fans just started noticing the absence more recently. The show chronicles officers' every move, even in high-pressure and dangerous situations like when Jeffersonville officers responded to the call of an Indiana State Trooper shot in the head earlier this year.
"Everybody involved in the taping in Live PD was a witness to a crime, so what I started to do in all my cases is sending subpoenas to LIVE PD if they were there," Attorney Larry Wilder said. "Every piece of film is evidence."
Wilder said four of his clients were profiled on the show, including 52-year-old Dennis Colon, who was arrested for carrying a handgun without a license. Wilder didn't just ask for what aired on Live PD but everything captured by the show's cameras and the ability to interview all at the scene for its production, including videographers and producers.
Clark County Circuit Court Joseph Weber signed off on the order from Colon's case in February, but Wilder said Big Fish Productions, the New York-based producer of the A&E series, has yet to comply.
"If they continue to not, I'm going to have to ask the judges here to find someone in contempt in New York for refusing to produce evidence," Wilder said. "Or I may ask the judges to exclude all evidence from those cases, because we can't get critical evidence."
Moore said he did not know about these subpoenas, but he was leery about the possibility of lawsuits.
"I think when you see lawyers advertising in every commercial break, you are going to say, 'Hey, what about the liability of this?'" Moore said.
There was concern about added work on the police, but leadership from the department considered the show a success.
"As far as I'm concerned, it showed our agency and our officers in a positive light, and it was very transparent to what we are doing," Assistant Chief Michael McVoy said.
Live PD donated $10,000 to the Fraternal Order of Police in Jeffersonville to help with community programs as a result of the officers' participation in the show. Other law enforcement agencies, like the Clarksville Police Department and the Clark County Sheriff's Office, also stopped participating in the show.
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