TV show 'COPS' gets approval to film with FMPD

Posted at 8:39 AM, Jan 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-04 06:29:10-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Fort Myers City Council voted 5-2 Tuesday to approve a production contract with the makers of the reality TV series 'COPS'. 

The decision gives Langley Productions the opportunity to return to Fort Myers to film with the Fort Myers Police Department; however, an official timeline has not yet been announced. 

Chief Diggs advocated for the shows return to the City of Palms, citing his past experience with the show during his time in Toledo, Ohio. Diggs told the council the show could help improve community relations by providing transparency, along with highlighting the hard work of FMPD's officers. 

He also argued the show would be a good recruitment tool. 

"I want the folks around this country to know that we have some good police officers in this community and we've got some good citizens in this community," said Chief Diggs.

The council initially expressed tepid support for filming the show. The most vocal opposition came from councilman Johnny Streets who told the Chief the police department should wait to film the show until the outcome of an active internal probe by the Department of Justice. 

"We have somewhere opened ourselves, if it's not what we hope to get, to some criticism. So those were my concerns," said Streets. "It's the timing more than anything," he added. 

The DOJ probe, which was intended to review FMPD's practices and treatment of residents, was requested by former interim Police Chief Dennis Eads. Councilman Streets suggested filming once the results of the review are released. 

"We want our officers to focus on the job and not someone with a camera," said Streets. 

A spokesperson for the city told Fox 4 it's not clear exactly when filming will begin. "At this point it's kind of in Chief Diggs' hands. He is going to work with Langley Productions on the timing of the segments and when they'll come here to shoot, said Kirsten O'Donnell, City of Fort Myers Public Relations. "I believe the council has definitely given him their vote of confidence," she added. 

FMPD officers have been on the show before. In the past, mayor Randy Henderson said the goal was to show the public the police department is doing its job to keep the city safe.