ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – The St. Louis Police Chief is taking some heat for allowing a reality TV show to shadow his homicide detectives. There is a new call to stop the show before it starts.
The reality show’s title “The First 48” refers to what it is often the most critical time period for homicide investigators, the first 48 hours. The show is about to production with St. Louis police within a few weeks.
Chief Sam Dotson has granted the A&E network show permission to track homicides in St. Louis.
“It’s about showing the good hard work that our detectives do,” said St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson.
State Senator Jamillah Nasheed has written the chief asking him to stop production before it starts. She says the show will only spot-light St. Louis’ Problems with violent crime and the short-comings of efforts to solve those crimes.
There are 186 homicides in the city as of the morning of December 30th. That is two fewer than 2015, with two days to go.
“We have an unsolved murder rate to the tune of approximately 78%. That’s appalling. We don’t need feel good solutions here. We don’t need entertainment. What we need are real solutions,” said State Senator Jamillah Nasheed.
The Chief sees the show as a chance to bridge a trust gap between police and portions of the public and actually help investigators solve more crimes.
“It creates a transparency with the investigation and a connection with the community,” said St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson. “The homicide detectives become recognized. People feel more comfortable coming up to them and saying, ‘I saw this. I heard this. I think this might be important.'”
“You can’t solve a murder in 48 hours. We have mothers who are crying. We have fathers who are crying to this day whose children’s murders have not been solved for more than a year,” said State Senator Jamillah Nasheed.
“Ultimately I hope it pushes up our recruiting. It’d be great if people were sitting at home going, ‘I want to be like that detective. I want to be able to solve crimes. I want to be able to change people’s lives and help people.'” said Dotson.
“We don’t need entertainment. We don’t need episodes that only glamorize the depth of our destruction.” said Nasheed.
Nasheed points out cities once featured on the show, including Memphis and New Orleans, have decided not to continue. There have been lawsuits, including one from a man who claims he was shot for being a snitch after being seen on the show.
But, Dotson sees more potential positives and says the first episode will likely air six to 18 months from now, only after a given case makes it through the court process.