Thursday, June 2, 2016


The debate over producing segments for the TV "reality" show "Cops" in Hazleton is fascinating.

Producers and photographers have been in Hazleton for a short time now, after the mayor and police chief gave the green light.  The mayor said his intention is to show the good work of the Hazleton Police Department and how it's been effective in reducing crime.

Most people who attended a Tuesday night council meeting fear the wave of negative publicity they believe will follow.

Let's take a look at both sides of this.  If "Cops" goes away, does the crime stop?  No, it doesn't.  And it can be argued that exposing a problem is the first step toward a solution.

Hazleton already has a somewhat tarnished image.  National exposure probably won't help things.  You get only one chance to make a first impression.  It can't be good if someone is introduced to Hazleton through "Cops."

FOX dumped "Cops" several years ago.  It's now on Spike.   It's not like the Hazleton crime issue is raised above the fold in the New York Times

I hasten to add that there is no such thing as "reality television."  Reality might be the starting point.  It veers in to entertainment pretty fast.  I'm not a "Cops" viewer.  Never have been.  I get crime, cops and robbers for a living.  I don't want to look at it during my time off.

Through it all, I keep coming back to one thing.  "Cops" has been around since 1989.  If the producers didn't give police departments a fair shake, police wouldn't cooperate and the show would die.

If it's fair, why complain?  Unfortunately, this is television, and you won't be able to judge "fair" until after the segments air late this year and early 2017.