City Council President Ken Sanchez doesn’t want to get any more calls asking how he can serve a city with the type of crime shown on “COPS,” and more importantly, doesn’t want the city damaged by the television show again.
“Houston, we have a problem,” Sanchez said Sunday during a news conference at Civic Plaza.
That “problem,” he says, is Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston’s decision to let the television show “COPS” film BCSO deputies in April, which community leaders – including Mayor Richard Berry and County Commissioners Debbie O’Malley and Maggie Hart Stebbins – have criticized, saying it paints a negative picture of the city.
Sanchez and City Councilor Don Harris announced a resolution Sunday asking Houston to reconsider, standing by the mayor’s decision to not allow the show to film Albuquerque Police Department officers. It will be introduced and voted on at the City Council’s meeting next Monday.
“The COPS television series sensationalizes criminal activity and focuses only on the seedy and negative aspects of the community it is filming in,” the resolution reads.
Sanchez said the negative light the show puts on Albuquerque could affect economic development, as well as damage the nation’s perception of the city.
“We know there are problems in Albuquerque, but we’ve got great families … looking to bring Albuquerque up, not down,” Sanchez said. “Let me close by saying ‘Bad boys, bad boys, watcha gonna do, watcha gonna do when we shut the door on you,’ and hopefully that will be the message we send out to Sheriff Houston.”
“Bad Boys,” a song by the reggae group Inner Circle, is the show’s theme song.
Houston said there’s no evidence for claims that the show – which last filmed in Albuquerque in 2001 – had a negative impact on economic development, and he said he thinks the community should be transparent about what goes on.
“To this date no one has come forward to present any statistics or factual information that would support the hypothesis being presented by certain individuals,” said Houston in a prepared statement. “Rather it reflects a non-transparent position and indicates a mindset of wanting to hide what goes on in our communities.”
The resolution cites a 2004 Journal story that quoted a Jumptheshark.com posting that said, “How much crime can there be in Albuquerque, New Mexico? They taped so many shows in that town, I’m ready never to visit.”
Harris said the filming of “COPS” is worse for the city than fictional shows such as “Breaking Bad” because fiction doesn’t necessarily represent what actually goes in the city, and because fictional shows bring the state more jobs and revenue. “COPS,” which airs on Spike TV, is a very cheap show to produce and doesn’t bring a profit that outweighs the damage it could do, Harris said.
“All families have issues, all communities have issues and everybody knows you don’t advertise those things,” Harris said. “We think there’s no reason to be putting our worst foot forward.”
The resolution does not ban filming of the show within city limits, but Harris said if Houston doesn’t change his mind, he might look at whether such an action is legal and propose legislation.
“We’re going to do what we can, but we’re not going to pass something that’s going to be ineffective or will be illegal,” Harris said.
The resolution says the show overlooks many of New Mexico’s good qualities.
“… The filming of COPS … ignores the much larger positive aspects of the community such as our rich cultural assets, natural beauty and warm hospitality,” the resolution reads.