Wednesday, June 2, 2004

County gets 'Cops' off ground

Sheriff lets TV show use helicopter, boats after Cincinnati snub

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Crews for Cops might not be able to film in Cincinnati, but they could soon be flying over the city with Hamilton County sheriff's deputies.

Sheriff Simon Leis offered the television producers access to his department's helicopter, boats and other equipment in a meeting Tuesday. Two film crews planned to ride in a patrol car with deputies Tuesday night, likely in Colerain Township and a community on the county's east side, Leis said. They're expected to film deputies' work daily for eight weeks.

Previously in the Enquirer:
June 1
Bronson: It's obvious - they don't support cops
May 30
Reader letters to the editor
May 29
'Cops' producers get the last laugh
Explain Yourself: 'Cops' and City Council
May 28
Chief cancels 'Cops' after 2 days

Leis stepped in Friday with the offer to film his deputies after Cincinnati Chief Tom Streicher withdrew his invitation because he said it wasn't worth the hassle of battling with some City Council members over it. .

Leis said he was promised full control over deciding what eventually airs on the Fox-TV show.

"I just thought that they were invited into this town, somebody ought to work with them," he said.

Videographers rode with a Norwood police officer Friday night, filming a drug arrest and a high-speed chase that started after an officer got punched. The film crew told officers they would probably be back in Norwood again, said Norwood Chief William Schlie.

Covington's police chief scheduled a meeting with producers this week to talk about filming in Northern Kentucky's largest city. Covington Mayor Butch Callery invited producers Friday to film that city's police officers. Callery made the offer after consulting with Covington Police Chief Tom Schonecker and City Solicitor Jay Fossett.

"We do all the things a big city police department does and we do them well," Callery said. "To show that on national TV would be very prestigious." In Cincinnati, Councilman Sam Malone planned to have a press conference today to announce he has five council votes to ask the administration to re-invite the show.

Streicher could not be reached to explain what, if anything, could change his mind. City Manager Valerie Lemmie, who was consulted on the decision to rescind the invitation, is out of the office this week.

Councilman David Pepper said he supports inviting the show back, but he doesn't think there should be a vote of council. He doesn't want to set the precedent that council makes what he thinks should be administration decisions.

Until council shows its support for the police department, Mayor Charlie Luken said, "there's little point in getting any officer involved in that kind of situation. It's an impossible circumstance to place any police officer in if they can't rely on their own council to stand up for their work."



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