Saturday, May 29, 2004

'Cops' and City Council

Explain yourself

Cincinnati Vice Mayor Alicia Reece and other members of City Council voiced concerns at Wednesday's meeting that TV crews from Fox's Cops show filming Cincinnati police in action could further damage the city's battered national image. Police Chief Tom Streicher had approved the TV filming after consulting Mayor Charlie Luken and City Manager Valerie Lemmie, but Thursday canceled the deal that would have let Cops producers film here for six to eight weeks. Streicher said it would give his officers positive national exposure. Reece heads council's tourism, health, small business and employment committee. As of Friday, it appeared that Cops will stay in town to film the doings of the Hamilton County Sheriff's Patrol under Sheriff Simon Leis.

Question: Why did you object to giving Cincinnati police officers national exposure on the popular Cops reality-TV show?

Cincinnati Vice Mayor Alicia Reece
(Steven M. Herppich/file photo)
Reece: The segment on Cincinnati police (would have been) aired in August or early September during the opening of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the black college Football Classic and Oktoberfest. Police action on Fox Cops show is sensationalized, and there's editing involved. The city's image is left to the whim of the editors. I don't think NBC's Dateline show on Cincinnati cops accurately portrayed us either. You can't look at the benefit to just one department, but at the benefit to the city as a whole. Everything we do here will be overanalyzed.

I don't think this is a good time when we have had 30 homicides committed in the city. The show could showcase a whole lot of crime. God forbid if something major happens while the Cops crew is here. The segment on Cincinnati would have been shown all over the country. It's not that we're trying to hide anything. But they would have been here for six to eight weeks, and the show is just out to get its ratings, then move on. Their job is to make the show as sensational as possible. My job is to bring conventions and business to the city. I think we are turning a corner here. It's not that we're perfect. But as Councilman Pat DeWine said, we can't win. I see no benefit to being on the show.

Do you know of a position, vote or statement made by a public official that you'd like him or her to explain? Make a suggestion, and we'll ask. Send ideas to Ray Cooklis at rcooklis@enquirer.com; phone (513) 768-8525.


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