Review board discusses BCSO’s involvement with ‘On Patrol: Live’

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Disclaimer: Reelz is owned by the same company that owns KOB 4.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The BCSO Advisory and Review Board held their monthly meeting Friday to discuss some public concerns that have surfaced recently over BCSO and their relation with the show, “On Patrol: Live.” The review board provides feedback to BCSO and acts as a bridge between the community and the sheriff’s department.

The show follows Bernalillo County officers around the metro while they are on the job, giving a behind-the-scenes look into what they do at work.

“This is so different than cops in the sense that it’s not prepackaged and sensationalized law enforcement activity,” BCSO PIO Jayme Fuller said. “This was supposed to give a real-life look into the day-to-day policing operations that BCSO does.”

Some community members expressed their concern about BCSO taking part in the three-hour-long show.

“I’m a social worker, so I often work with people who’ve had police interactions,” Claire, a community member in the meeting, said. “It’s often some of the worst moments of their life and so I don’t think it should be televised and I don’t think the government should be making money off of hard times in people’s lives.”

BCSO stated in the meeting that they do not receive any money for participating in this show, but what truly took over this meeting was the topic of symbolism.

Some symbols seen on BCSO’s recruitment vehicles have caught the eyes of community members and some believe they could attract the wrong people to law enforcement.

“If we’re using that as a recruiting vehicle, it doesn’t matter what I think it means or what you think it means,” Daniel Montoya said. “But to a white supremacist or to the far right.”

BCSO sees it another way.

In the meeting, it was explained that BCSO cadets create the symbols by brainstorming and thinking about what they would want on the cars, like a group exercise. The ideas for symbols then get sent through all chains of command before they get the green light to be used, according to BCSO. The cadets come up with class mottos, class t-shirts, etc., with the creation of these symbols being a part of that exercise.

“They have a helmet because people who go into battle sometimes put on a helmet,” said a BCSO spokesperson.

BCSO also explained the ideas behind other symbols as well, assuring the public of their meaning was not harmful.

Although many, from BCSO and the community, mentioned they are not aware of every symbol out there, community members think there’s still more to do. They stressed that simple Google searches, extra research, and outside input could help protect the community from any harmful symbolism.

“I think we need to all educate ourselves on the symbols that they use and the messages they send out there,” said Montoya.

BCSO also sent out this tweet Friday:

Full statement from Stan E. Hubbard, CEO of REELZ:

“On Patrol: Live provides a transparent and unfiltered look at the job law enforcement officers across the country do in their communities, including here in Bernalillo County, on a daily and nightly basis. On Patrol: Live encourages conversations around policing and allows viewers to form their own opinions based on what they see live every Friday and Saturday night. REELZ is extremely proud to bring this series to viewers across the country.”

Full statement from spokesperson for Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, Felicia Maggard:

We always welcome public comment regarding any matters related to the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office. The images featured on one of our current recruiting vehicles were selected from past cadet class images. These images are created by each cadet class and represent comradery among the cadets as they work towards a collective goal to protect and serve the community. Cadets are inspired and encouraged to build bonds as they advance through the rigorous training of the academy and prepare for a career in law enforcement. It is a built-in tradition to have each cadet class create a “guidon” which displays their class symbol. The cadets represent our community and come from various and diverse backgrounds. We would never promote any symbolism that may cause division in the community we serve. 

In reference to our presence with On Patrol, we have yet to receive any formal negative complaints from our community. Instead, it has served as a humanistic portrayal of the job and humanizes each citizen who wears the badge in service of our community. We seek to highlight the professional and dedicated work our deputies do every day. We continue to receive overwhelming support on social media platforms about our presence on the show. 

We have always welcomed public comment and have responded in a timely fashion when concerns are brought to our attention. We appreciate all inquiries as we continue to protect and serve Bernalillo County. Thank you for bringing this to our attention and be safe.