SPOKANE, Wash. – The Spokane City Council passed an ordinance which will impose new restrictions on reality based police shows like “Live PD” on Monday night.
The ordinance passed with a 5-1 vote. Before the vote, council members listened to public testimony for and against the ordinance. Many people speaking in support of the proposal were worried about mental health and racial profiling.
"When you think about it, when you go to the hospital and you have an interaction, that's protected health information. So we shouldn't be allowing the news media and reality TV shows to broadcast the lives of people with mental health issues without their consent," one person said.
Supporters of shows like "Live PD" said the decision is a big mistake mainly because they said these reality shows lead to better transparency for law enforcement.
"If we watch the news everyday, these gentlemen are under fire. Shows like Live PD allow then public to see what these officers go through," another person said.
The ordinance says production companies will have to get a business license in Spokane. They will also require producers to screen footage before it airs to keep anyone with mental health problems from appearing on TV. A city employee would also be tasked with monitoring what is broadcasted. Penalties for violating these rules will result in a civil infraction with a $250 fine.
The ordinance will not have an immediate impact on filming reality TV in Spokane. “Cops” is not expected to return until the summer and the contract “Live PD” had with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office expired. The show does not appear to have any immediate plans to return.