On Thursday, August 30th, 2018 the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office released a statement on their Facebook page explaining why they are on Live PD in response to some community discussions on how being on the show represents Pasco.
Recently, there has been discussion in our community regarding the Pasco Sheriff’s Office’s participation on LivePD. We have received questions from a few asking why we are a part of this show. We know the vast majority of our community supports our participation on this show. Your Pasco Sheriff’s deputies hear the overwhelmingly positive comments not only regarding their professionalism, but also of your support for your Pasco Sheriff’s Office. For that we are eternally grateful.
Pasco County is also a lot more than what you see on LivePD. We are one of the fastest growing counties in Florida, with incredible opportunities for leisure activities, businesses, and families. We enjoy our waterways, warm weather, and proximity to the Tampa Bay region. We are experiencing tremendous development and investment in our county and are establishing a state-of-the-art public safety institute in partnership with private sector participants, our local schools and several universities. LivePD does not define who we are as a county, but it demonstrates the outstanding work of your deputies. In addition, every county faces challenges to improve their community. No community can state they are perfect. With that said, our partnership with LivePD has brought some questions that we would like to address.
To dispel one rumor, the Sheriff’s Office does not receive any financial benefit from the network or production company for being on this show, nor do we pay to be featured on the show. We participate in this show to change the conversation regarding law enforcement officers and the need to address mental health and substance abuse that plague every community in this country. We are fortunate to be able to raise charitable funds through our T-shirt sales, which are donated to local organizations with missions that help to make our community better.
Law enforcement, over the last few years, has been placed in an incredibly precarious situation. There exists a national discussion surrounding law enforcement incidents that impact deputies nationally. Whether one individual officer is correct or wrong in their actions, all of law enforcement is then lumped into one category. The statements directed at one officer or one agency affect every officer and every one of our families. The fact that Live PD demonstrates the hard work, compassion, and professionalism of deputies should be a source of pride for every community. It also provides a narrative that is often lost in society when a tragic incident sadly occurs, that the law enforcement officer is a human being trying to do the best they can for others.
Perception and reality are often two separate entities, and the traditional hour-long television show about police work does not often show the reality of what law enforcement officers do every day. Our goal through LivePD, at least in Pasco, is to show the reality of what your deputies do. The purpose is to highlight the good work of your deputies, the compassion and care they demonstrate during calls, and show you a real-time, real-life, not scripted, look at what a deputy does every single shift. This is the same reason we are proactive and transparent in the release of Body Worn Camera footage and also take you on a weekly #TweetAlong with our deputies and have established our new YouTube channel to show you an inside look into your Sheriff’s Office.
We continue to believe that LivePD has achieved the goals of openness, transparency, and partnership of the Pasco Sheriff’s Office. The comments we receive every day here on social media, the growth of our social media platforms, and the comments that our deputies tell us they receive are overwhelmingly positive. We appreciate you having insight into what a shift looks like for a deputy, so you can better understand the dangers they face and the stress they feel every single shift.
It is important to remember that crime does not exist because of LivePD. Whether LivePD cameras are present or not, the deputies are still responding to crime and calls for law enforcement assistance. In Pasco, there have been numerous law enforcement crimes and public safety issues that have become national and international news that were not featured on LivePD. These incidents occur and will continue to occur here in Pasco and around the country, whether the cameras are rolling or not.
One comment we have heard from a few locally and in other jurisdictions where LivePD airs, is that it does not present a good image of the county. The failure to properly address the issues of substance abuse and mental health issues lead to a large amount of calls that law enforcement officers across the nation face every day. Mental health and substance abuse are HEALTHCARE issues, that law enforcement officers are unfortunately placed in the position of being the primary responder. To sweep the issues of mental health and substance abuse under the rug because it “does not present a good image” is a sad commentary and to pretend these issues only exist in communities where LivePD is filming is naïve. To change the image, we, as a nation, must address this healthcare issue. Law enforcement is only one part of the solution but should not be solely responsible for fixing this issue.
The truth is that law enforcement officers are never called when people are at their best- we get the call when people are at their worst or in need of help. This is our reality, and it often is not pretty, but if it is not us who responds to help a woman and her children being beat by her boyfriend, the missing child, or the child who has overdosed in their parents’ house, who will?
These are the realities that exist whether LivePD is in Pasco, or any other community in our country. These issues are also the important stories that we feel a transparent agency must show its community. In addition to these realities, though, we are also proud to show your deputies pushing a disabled vehicle to safety, to see our deputies comfort men and women in stressful situations, and to see deputies going above and beyond to serve their community. Of course we are also proud of our K9s, who are critical to our success.
We are also incredibly proud of the men and women that you do not see on television. What is often not seen is the incredible work done by our crime analysts, forensics teams, Child Protective Investigators, detention deputies, and numerous other members of the Sheriff’s Office that play a critically important role in keeping our community safe.
We are humbled and blessed to be part of a community with whom we have such a strong partnership.. As women and men who live in this community, raise families in this community, and protect this community, we want the best for our community. To show what your Pasco Sheriff’s Office does brings us closer together and our partnership with you, our community, is a bond that we will continue to strengthen.