I have a confession to make…I love the A&E show Live PD. If you haven’t watched it, it runs on A&E on Friday and Saturday evenings from 7p – 10p MST.
The show focuses on live police calls in various parts of the country with a film crew following them to every call.
You see the good, the bad, and the ugly- drunk drivers, hostage situations, drug busts, burglaries, and a lot of people that don’t have driver’s licenses or car insurance…and, the best part? It’s all unedited.
You also see the softer side of some of the men and women in blue when they are working with the homeless or neglected children and even when they are playing with the police dogs after a scene has been cleared.
But what makes a show like Live PD so appealing? Outside of having someone you know making an unexpected appearance on the show for being naughty in some way, there is something that is drawing millions of viewers to watch this show every week.
There has been quite a bit of research done on reality television and why people like it, but this show is different. It is truly live with no editing, so there are no “crafted scenes”, retakes, or take-outs. It’s not really the same as reality television, though some may lump it into the same category.
Live PD does have all the makings of a good drama- there’s “good guys” and “bad guys” and the required tense moments that make dramas so intriguing. However, I think Live PD goes beyond drama and speaks to our egos. It makes us feel good about ourselves….and it does this in a few different ways.
I am, for the most part, a law-abiding citizen. I do have the occasional bad judgement to drive my car faster than I should and my husband would tell you that I sometimes don’t come to a complete stop at a stop sign. Guilty.
But when I watch Live PD and see people that make far worse decisions than I do, it supports my belief about myself that overall, I make pretty good decisions. I don’t run drugs, I have a driver’s license and insurance, and I don’t break into other people’s homes or businesses.
In addition, it supports my ego in reminding me that I have a pretty good life. While my life isn’t perfect, and I’m guessing no one’s life really is, I feel lucky while watching Live PD. I’m not homeless, I’m not wanted by the police, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to provide for my family without having to steal the necessities. After watching an episode, I often think “things could be worse…I’m glad I’m not that guy right now”.
Finally, Live PD gives me hope that police officers aren’t as bad as the media has made them out to be in the past few years. We are presented with seven police departments in various states that do their work within the law and without violating people’s human or civil rights. That gives me hope.
And, when I consider how research works, that we research a smaller group of people to be able to generalize a phenomenon to the larger public, I have hope that the police in my city are doing just as well as the Live PD officers. Maybe, just maybe, things aren’t as bad as we’ve been told they are. Maybe, just maybe, there are just a few bad apples in every profession.
Oh, yeah, and Officer Zendejas? If you’re reading this…your hair bun game is on point…you go girl!
Have you watched Live PD? How do you feel about the show? I’d love it if you’d share your thoughts below!