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Timeline: A history of 'Live PD' and 'Cops' in Spokane County

'Live PD' and 'Cops' have been canceled amid growing unrest over police brutality. We broke down the timeline of controversy over the shows in Spokane.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Two major television networks have canceled the police reality shows "Live PD" and "Cops" amid growing unrest over police brutality and racism in the United States. 

A&E said in a statement that it's a critical time in the nation's history and it's ceasing production on “Live PD” as it seeks better ways to tell stories of police interaction with communities. The move came just one day after Paramount Network canceled "Cops."

"Live PD" and shows like it have led to some controversy among Spokane-area leaders and community members alike since 2018.

In the timeline below, we break down the history of police reality shows in Spokane County. 

February 2018: City leaders propose rules for police reality shows

Spokane City Council Member Breean Beggs, who now serves as council president, began raising questions about "Live PD" and similar shows. He was concerned that it showed the worst of Spokane. 

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich countered that point by saying the show served as a good recruiting tool for his department.

RELATED: Spokane Co. Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich disagrees with city over 'Live PD'

Other city leaders in Spokane also brought up issues of privacy, as both "Cops" and "Live PD" did not require people's consent to appear on camera. 

In response, the city began looking to develop some rules for police reality shows. Their proposal required a person's consent before they appear on "Live PD." At the same time, producers would need a license to film and operate within the city.

Another section of the ordinance dealt specifically with city employees. It would require camera crews to obey city police and employee commands. Employees who participate in filming must have written approval from the Chief of Police or City Administrator.

The ordinance also required all show footage to be reviewed by the Spokane Police Department, and reserve the right to remove, revise or prevent distribution of any content that involves a city employee.

RELATED: Spokane City Council creates ordinance for shows like 'Live PD'

March 2018: Spokane City Council passes ordinance

The Spokane City Council passed the ordinance to impose new restrictions on reality based police shows like “Live PD."

It passed with a 5-1 vote.

Many people who spoke to the council during public testimony supported the proposal over concerns about mental health and racial profiling.

Supporters of shows like "Live PD" said the decision was a mistake, mainly because they said these reality shows lead to better transparency for law enforcement.

RELATED: Spokane city council passes ordinance for shows like 'Live PD'

The ordinance said production companies would have to get a business license in Spokane. Producers would also have to screen footage before it aired 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 would result in a civil infraction with a $250 fine.

The contract that “Live PD” had with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office expired before the ordinance was passed.

May 2019: Spokane suspects from 'Live PD' profiled on podcast

Spokane suspects who appeared on “Live PD” spoke on an episode of the popular podcast “This American Life,” titled “I’m on TV?”

The episode references an excerpt of another podcast called "Running from Cops" hosted by Dan Taberski.

Spokane County had appeared on 99 hours of “Live PD.” Taberski and his producers said they watched all of the episodes.

One of the suspects claimed that she did not consent to appearing on the TV show, while another complained about how relentless authorities were about getting her on camera. 

The sheriff's office was highly critical of the "This American Life" episode and said the show made several factual errors.

RELATED: Spokane suspects from ‘Live PD’ profiled on ‘This American Life’ radio show

August 2019: 'Cops' begins filming with Spokane County deputies

"Cops" began filming with Spokane County Sheriff's deputies in August 2019. 

Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Cpl. Mark Gregory said the series was filming with deputies until September. 

RELATED: 'Cops' films with Spokane Co. deputies until September