Anyone who has watched television over the past three decades likely knows the words to the theme song of one of the longest-running shows.
“Whatcha want, watcha want
“Whatcha gonna do
“When Sheriff John Brown come for you.”
For the past seven weeks, members of a Cops TV production team have gone out looking for crooks while tagging along with officers from the Boise Police Department. They were fiilming segments that will appear on the Spike network later this year or early next year.
It’s the second time Cops has come to Boise. Eight episode segments were produced in 2006. This time, with one night of filming remaining Tuesday, there was enough footage for 13 segments. Three segments are shown in every 30-minute episode, with three cities showcased in each program.
“I look at this as a virtual ride-along for all of our citizens. They can sit down and watch the show and see what we’re doing on the street,” Boise Police Lt. Stan Niccolls said at a media availability Tuesday afternoon. “They can see everything from start to finish on how we handle a lot of calls.”
The crew of four photographers and sound technicians have accompanied a pair of patrol officers eight hours a day, beginning at 3:30 p.m., five days a week. They filmed incidents including narcotics arrests and domestic-violence calls.
The Boise Police Department gets high marks from producer Zach Ragsdale, who worked as a photographer during the 2006 shoot in Boise. He said it is “one of the most professional departments” he has worked with during his 18 years with the show, which previously was broadcast on the Fox network.
“In the Pacific Northwest, this agency and in Portland, the officers are very patient, the most patient officers I have ever seen. They are compassionate and caring with the folks they deal with on a daily basis.”
The Cops crew has ridden along with more than a dozen officers during this visit to Boise. Officers who were interested in performing their jobs in front of a camera volunteered for the assignment. Ragsdale said at least one officer who was featured in the 2006 segments took part this time.
Perpetrators captured on camera are not paid. They must sign a model release or their faces cannot be shown. It’s surprising how many agree to appear on the show, even when they’re shown at their worst. “I’d say 90 percent of folks will agree to appear on our show and maybe 10 don’t,” Ragsdale said.
Why? “They have their own reasons and we never question them,” Ragsdale said. “If they say ‘no’ then it’s a no, and if it’s ‘yes’ we sign them up.”