Producers for the television show Cops have chosen five segments from recent filming in Richmond County to begin airing in February.
“There’s a lot of action from Richmond,” said producer Zach Ragsdale, who promised car chases, foot chases and people who don’t want to talk to the police.
Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree signed a contract with Langley Productions Inc. in April for filming by the television show.
Roundtree admitted he was “a little apprehensive at first,” but later decided it was a good opportunity to show the public what officers do daily.
“This being in Augusta will only catapult us into the direction the agency is going,” he said.
Wearable cameras for deputies are being considered by the sheriff’s office.
Two camera crews followed deputies for eight weeks in eight-hour shifts, five days a week. Producers have chosen five 6½-minute segments that will appear in separate episodes this season.
“A lot of good police work doesn’t make good television in that there’s just no end (to the story),” Ragsdale said.
Each segment has to have a beginning, middle and end that’s complete with a suspect and victim. Most end with an arrest or resolution, he said.
Ragsdale said getting permission to use the footage is often an issue and it’s one reason crews spend so long with an agency.
Everyone who appears on camera, including deputies, victims and suspects, has to sign a release.
“There’s always two sides to every story,” Ragsdale said about why people sign releases. “A lot of times they just want their side heard, especially the suspects because they often don’t feel like their side is being heard.”
Roundtree said he was surprised to see how candid some of the suspects were on camera and said he imagines the public will be entertained by the footage.
The sheriff’s office did have final say in the edited footage. Roundtree said only one segment was re-edited because he felt it left too much to interpretation. After re-editing, it was approved.
Overall, he believes the public will be proud with the police agency.
“Richmond (County) is a very professional agency with a lot of hard workers,” Ragsdale said. “You go to some agencies and they just go to calls. These deputies are proactive and motivated to fight crime in their county.”
The first segment is scheduled to air in a Feb. 8 episode on Spike at 8 p.m. The rest of the air dates will be announced later.