ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – In a tweet Thursday morning, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) announced that they are “taking a break” from participating in reality TV. The news comes as a new Sheriff takes control of the agency.
In 2022, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) signed on to be featured on REELZ’s ‘On Patrol: Live.’ The show was announced as a more transparent version of similar law enforcement reality shows.
In multiple episodes, cameras followed BCSO deputies and staff, revealing what life is like in the line of duty around the county. Some viewers praised the show on social media; others took issue with aspects of the broadcast.
In October of 2022, after BCSO had been participating in the show for several months, a citizen review board took public comment on the agency’s role in the show. And although not everyone opposed the show, according to board member Debi Dodge, a handful of people spoke out against the show.
“I believe the recording of on patrol with Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office has negative impact on the community and the officer’s ability to do their jobs,” Luis Ramirez told the review board in October. Ramirez claimed he was filmed on the show despite asking officers to stop recording.
“I’m fully against the show being made in our city,” Josephine Medina told the board. “I was in a motor vehicle accident last week and the sheriffs on scene were much more concerned with the camera crew than my safety.”
Jayme Fuller, a spokesperson for BCSO responded to some of the criticism at the meeting: “‘On Patrol: Live’ has been in the works for two years, so I approached the Sheriff on it. We knew Reelz network was going to be involved and they are in Albuquerque. It was an opportunity for us to connect with the public and for them to see what officers do on a day-to-day basis. I would encourage you to watch the ‘On Patrol: Live’ show. It is unfortunate to hear about a negative experience and I’m confident that my captain and my deputy chief will look into any sort of concerns.”
Since that review board meeting, a new sheriff was elected. Democrat John Allen took over the role from Manny Gonzales. Now, with a new sheriff in town, the agency says they’ll re-evaluate their participation in the show.
Through a public records request, KRQE News 13 obtained the contract signed by the former Sheriff. The document reveals that BCSO originally agreed to work with the production company until at least July 5, 2023, but a spokesperson from BCSO says the production company worked with the agency to end the contract early.
In tweets, BCSO noted that the ‘On Patrol: Live’ staff was “a joy to work with” and acted professionally. BCSO spokesperson Jayme Fuller-Gonzales told News 13 that the new Sheriff has already been in talks with the show producers.
“Sheriff Allen has only been in office for few days so the decision to take a break from the show was to allow him and his staff to transition smoothly together for the best interest of our deputies and community to continue giving and receiving the best service. BCSO is on great terms with the network and producers of the show and Sheriff Allen has had personal discussions with the OP Live team about this decision and we all hope to be back soon,” Fuller-Gonzales says. “The Sheriff will reevaluate our participation in the spring after he has had the chance to focus on his priorities for the office.”