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THURSDAY, May 30 — Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth was practically beaming when he announced his plans to bring film crews into Greater Lansing this summer to shoot the reality TV show “COPS.” But many more — including some of his own deputies — were having second thoughts. It was just a bad idea.
Publicly shaming criminals, many of whom are often experiencing the worst day of their lives, is not how law enforcement is supposed to operate. The show sensationalizes crime for entertainment and only wanted to turn Ingham County into its newest stage. The sheriff needed to close the curtain.
Wriggelsworth previously stood behind the plans in the face of mounting criticism, defending the show as a fresh way to showcase the hard work that his deputies put into the job every single day. But as social media continued to slap Wriggelsworth for the idea, he decided to pull the plug last week.
A press release from his office labeled the show a “step in the wrong direction.”
"Many people liked the idea of ‘COPS’ coming here,” he said. “However, there was just as many, if not more, that expressed concerns with memorializing someone’s worst day for entertainment purposes.”
Recent findings — namely from Dan Taberski’s podcast “Running from Cops” — also show that violent crimes on “COPS” are disproportionately showcased. Suspects may have been coerced into appearances. And producers put local police departments behind the wheel of the whole operation.
“It consistently frames bad policing,” Taberski previously explained in an interview with City Pulse.
Wriggelsworth needed to put the kibosh on these boyish aspirations to appear on TV. He doesn’t need a catchy theme song to illustrate the integrity and work ethic of his department. Nothing good would’ve come from the show. And we certainly didn’t want would-be reality stars trying to get arrested.
Those values, instead, are demonstrated only through continued quality service to local citizens.
The recent change-of-heart shows the sheriff is actually willing to listen and take action on public concerns. We need more elected officials who are willing to divert course when their ship starts taking on water. It might’ve been a bad idea, but at least Wriggelsworth fixed the problem he had created.