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The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department is getting some Hollywood exposure for the third time in seven years.
“Cops,” the long-running reality television show, will film Sacramento County deputies responding to calls, conducting traffic stops and interacting with residents for eight weeks. “Cops” camera teams previously followed Sacramento County deputies in 2010 and 2015, according to the county.
Department spokesman Sgt. Tony Turnbull said film crews will be assigned to deputies during the week by shift sergeants, and participation is voluntary. He expects filming to begin in the next couple weeks.
Seeing their local agency will help Sacramento viewers connect to the show, he said, and show those residents how and why officers behave the way they do.
“It gives people a little bit of perspective of some of the things we deal with on a daily basis,” Turnbull said.
Certain crimes and victims will be off limits for the cameras, like sexual assault and child abuse, due to privacy and confidentiality concerns. The department has the final say on what goes on air in all circumstances, he said.
Homicides will not be featured either, he said, because they’re long-term investigations that wouldn’t be completed by the time the episodes air.
Because cellphone videos and surveillance cameras are commonplace these days, having a camera crew in the car doesn’t change the way officers behave, Turnbull said.
“That’s the nature of the beast these days,” he said, and officers always operate “under the understanding that there could be” a camera on them.
“Cops” is an unscripted show featuring three separate police incidents per 22-minute episode. In one episode from 2015, Sacramento County detectives chase down a stolen Honda Civic and question the driver and his passenger at a gas station. One of the detectives explains how car thieves will replace the license plates of the stolen car with plates taken off a car of the same make and model to conceal the theft.
In the past, the Sacramento and Elk Grove police departments have also worked with the show. Sacramento Police Department spokesman Matt McPhail said the agency is not working with “Cops” this time around.
“Cops” began airing on Fox in 1989 and is one of the longest-running television shows in the U.S. It moved to the Spike network in 2011.
“The show’s been around for forever,” Turnbull said. “Everybody’s probably seen it.”
The show’s producers could not be reached for comment.