Worcester police chief to Fox COPS: get out

Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme, from today’s Worcester Telegram & Gazette:

“I just believe it is in the best interest to ask ‘Cops’ to leave.”

The decision follows both a protest against the show at Worcester City Hall, and a Wednesday meeting between the Chief and community leaders.

According to Worcester Magazine’s Scott Zoback:

Apparently, no other city has seen a citizen protest mounted over the presence of the FOX TV show “Cops,” like the one held at City Hall this week, and the show is 17 years old. That’s what the FOX crew has told folks and a search of our newspaper database service appears to confirm it. We found some Portland, Ore., activists who posted angry messages on forums; and Chicago, San Francisco and Honolulu flat out refused to let the show tape in the city.

According to the Telegram:

This is only the second time a city has reversed its decision to have the show film its officers. Cincinnati officials decided against having the show in their city in 2004, according to [“Cops” creator John Langley]. The “Cops” crew went back after the officials changed their minds, he said.

“Maybe Worcester will change its mind,” he said. “We’ll be happy to film there.”

And here is Buck Paxton’s take.

Man, it’s tough blogging about Worcester from South Bend.

[Part of this blog entry was removed after I realized I was misreading a statement in the T&G.]

From the annals of parallel invention: In the Worcesteria referenced above, Scott Zoback ran an item about Gary Rosen’s rat resolution titled “Rat Attack,” a couple days after I ran an item about the same resolution titled “Rat Attack!”

One thought on “Worcester police chief to Fox COPS: get out”

  1. I’m trying to figure out why a city would want to have the show COPS film in it. Theoretically, it gives the local police an opportunity to show their professionalism, what sorts of things they encounter on the job, etc. The two big problems are that (A) you also end up showcasing the crime in the area, and (B) the positive publicity is only theoretical — editorial control is in the hands of the TV show, and they’ll edit it together to make things as telegenic as possible. News flash: cops doing community-building work is not telegenic, but cops running after a meth addict trying to break into a building is.

    Let’s put it this way: let’s say you’re an investor looking to build a new grocery store, or a new distribution center, or just some new houses somewhere in New England. Then you watch an episode of COPS taped in Worcester. Are you more likely or less likely to invest in Worcester after you see COPS there?

    I think COPS may thrive on local authorities thinking that any publicity is good publicity. But showing your city as being full of stupid criminals is never good publicity.

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