Things I Learned From ‘Live PD’ [OPINION]
Live PD is a reality television show on Friday and Saturday nights on the cable channel A&E. The program broadcasts police activity across America in real time.
Much of what I "learn" from the show is really just a reinforcement of the things I already know, and I watch in amusement wondering why the person on the TV show doesn't already know this, too. But if everybody acted correctly, there wouldn't be this popular show for me to watch some weekends.
The show embeds camera crews in police departments all over America and uses a team of producers to cut away to the best story, or potential story, occurring at that moment. Veteran news broadcaster and attorney Dan Abrams is the master of ceremonies, and he is joined by Tom Morris, Jr. and a rotating cast of actual police officers and sheriff's deputies each week to discuss the situations after they conclude live on the air.
Things I have learned:
1. Don't smoke marijuana in a car. I have known this my whole life, but thankfully plenty of dopes who smoke dope are out there for our TV entertainment. If the police smell pot in your car, they are legally able to search the car and find the cocaine and the unregistered handgun under the seat, too. Except in Massachusetts, the police can't search your car for that in the Commonwealth, and Live PD isn't currently broadcasting from the Bay State. But my law enforcement sources tell me they have made inquiries to Massachusetts police departments.
2. If a man isn't wearing a shirt when he interacts with the police, he is going to jail. I don't know what it is about adult males in public without shirts, but they almost always end up in jail.
3. The police are always smarter than the criminals. The criminals are also usually stoned or drunk and the police are sober. The criminals are terrible liars, but they love to craft a ridiculous story as if they are the second coming of Hemingway. The police are trained observers and questioners. There is a reason for the Fifth Amendment and the Miranda decision. Live PD would have been canceled by now if the subjects had a basic education in civics and history.
4. Don't insult or argue with the police. If you respectfully decline to answer a police officer's questions, they will accept that and go about their business, including arresting you if the evidence is available. Screaming your vulgar and insulting opinion of the police in general, or the officer in particular, will not aid your cause--and it is a matter of the public record, since it is on TV.
5. It's harder than ever to be a cop. Sadly, we have a problem with drugs, alcohol, and mental health in this country, and the police deal with it every day.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.