Lawrence mayor, residents react to canceled ‘Live PD’

LAWRENCE, Ind. (WISH) — Viewers across the nation came to know the city of Lawrence through the eyes of its police officers. The city’s police department was featured as part of the A&E show “Live PD.” That show has now been canceled as networks respond to the shifting climate following the death of George Floyd.

The Lawrence Police Department didn’t want to go on camera Thursday, but they did say they’ve had a positive experience with “Live PD” during their time working together.

Two years and three seasons ago, officers with “Lawrence” scrawled across their backs and badges started showing up on “Live PD,” the A&E show that follows police on the job, as it happens.

“You get a lot of scenarios that normally you wouldn’t see like on ‘Cops’ and stuff like that,” Lawrence resident Logan Filkis said. “It’s unedited, it’s raw, real.”

Lawrence police say in the past, arrests went down and the city was quieter while the show filmed on Saturday nights. They say the show led to a spike in officers’ social media pages as it humanized Lawrence police. So much so that officers like Sgt. Charlie Kingery went viral for doing a dance.

Lawrence Mayor Steve Collier says the happily-married officer received multiple proposals from online fans.

“It was kind of cool to see everybody ‘Where is Lawrence at? What’s going on there?'” Collier said. “And then we had people calling us and so on and asking us are we going to be on this week and that kind of thing and it was all for us, personally, it was a good experience.”

Now, “Live PD” won’t be broadcasting at all. A&E canceled the show Wednesday, during the national push for police reform.

“I think it’s a good idea right now,” Lawrence resident Mellicent Robison said. “Maybe in the future it probably would be OK.”

Others say it’s something people need to see — real officers, right now.

“It shows that there are good officers out there,” Filkis said. “It shows that there are officers out there that would help any and everybody.”

Mayor Collier says officers still have body cameras on, so even if it’s not being streamed to television sets there’s still a method of transparency and accountability.

“Our guys are pretty well trained on how to conduct themselves,” Collier said. “So that part of it wasn’t really new to us. We have wanted to be that way. I’m proud to say that in the last three and a half years, we have had zero lawsuits in the city of Lawrence. That’s almost unheard of for a police department. A part of it was we had our body cameras on us. That makes the police and the perpetrators settle down if they know they’re on tape.”

Lawrence police say even with the program gone, they’re grateful that they could be a part of showcasing what policing is like in America.