Cameras are rolling with Chattanooga police for a new reality TV show scheduled to air in April.
The show, "Police POV," follows midsize city police departments across the country.
The truTV cable channel will feature Chattanooga police along with departments in Fort Smith, Ark., Cincinnati and Cleveland, Ohio, on the show. Mickey Stern, CEO of BASE Productions, which is making the show, said "Police POV" will give audience members the first chance to see policing from officers' point-of-view.
The show's goal is to find "real people in real cities," Stern said.
"It's basically a re-invention of shows like 'Cops.' 'Cops' was cutting-edge for its day, but this is cops seen through cops' view," he said.
To help the audience see events through a police officer's perspective, the show uses a pen-sized camera that rests atop an officer's earlobe with a wire that attaches to a fist-sized computer where the recording can be reviewed.
For the television show, a camera operator also films separate angles with a traditional shoulder-carried camera.
Filming is scheduled in Chattanooga for about a year, Stern said.
Chattanooga police spokeswoman Officer Rebecca Royval said the camera operator has ridden with different divisions within the department. An advantage to the long-term filming is that much of what's recorded will have been resolved by the time the show airs, she said.
Stern said the show's producers will edit film to show viewers a variety of police situations from multiple departments within each 30-minute segment. Not every scene will be a high-speed chase.
"People definitely forget that a big part of their job is preventing crime," Stern said.
For example, "Police POV" will depict instances of community policing, where officers work with the public and help defuse tense situations.
Royval said Chattanooga police were featured on the "Cops" television show several years ago, but the new program could give residents a better sense of police duties.
"I think it's definitely good for the department and it's helpful for the citizens as well because they get to see what an officer goes through during the day," she said.
ABOUT THE CAMERAS
TASER, a Scottsdale, Ariz.,-based company, developed the AXON cameras, tiny headcams that can record up to 10.5 hours of video. The company released the equipment publicly in 2009. The recording equipment is being touted as the next step in accurate police record keeping with more mobile recording capability than the now nearly standard dashboard cameras.
TASER has a partnership with the "Police POV" production company.