Commissioners Ban 'Live PD' From County, Find Out Hard Way They Can't Do That

Sandy Malone

The Commissioners Court sent a "cease and desist" order to "Live PD" after the sheriff signed a new agreement to film.

Georgetown, TX – There’s a battle underway over whether A&E’s “Live PD” will be able to continue filming in Williamson County after the sheriff signed an agreement to let production continue despite a ban on the show by the Williamson County Commissioners Court.

The Williamson County Commissioners Court voted to pull its sheriff’s department off of the nation’s most popular reality show in August of 2019 after the production company refused to allow the district attorney to have access to raw footage, Deadline reported.

Williamson County sheriff’s deputies made their debut on “Live PD” in November of 2018, and shortly thereafter, the district attorney asked production company Big Fish Entertainment for access to the raw footage, according to the San Marcos Daily Record.

District Attorney Shawn Dick and some defense attorneys argued that the footage contained potential evidence and could be used for investigations.

However, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office said that the production company had no legal obligation to preserve the video, the San Marcos Daily Record reported.

"I had always assumed that the footage was available if someone wanted to get it," Dick said. "I didn't realize that apparently the footage is being destroyed."

He took his complaints to local lawmakers and on Aug. 20, they voted to shut down participation in production.

“The Commissioners Court voted unanimously to terminate the contractual agreement between Williamson County and Big Fish Entertainment, the producer of the show ‘Live PD’,” Williamson County tweeted, according to Deadline.

The show was ordered to stop filming in 30 days which coincided perfectly with the launch of the new season on Sept. 20.

Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody was disappointed by the county commissioners’ decision, KUT reported.

Sheriff Chody said that “Live PD” had been good for sheriff’s department recruitment and community engagement.

So, after doing some research about who was actually in charge of giving Big Fish Entertainment access to the sheriff’s department, Sheriff Chody agreed to let the television show come back to his county and signed an agreement in March, according to the Statesman.

The Commissioners Court was furious with Sheriff Chody and voted Tuesday to send a letter to Big Fish Entertainment that ordered the production company to “immediately cease and desist using Williamson County facilities, vehicles and property for the purposes of filming, producing and publishing the TV series, ‘Live PD.’”

But it turned out that the Commissioners Court doesn’t actually have the authority to tell the sheriff that his department cannot be filmed, the Statesman reported.

Jason Nassour, the general counsel for Williamson County Attorney Dee Hobbs, said Sheriff Chody didn’t need permission from commissioners to sign an agreement with Big Fish Entertainment for the show’s production.

“The Commissioners Court said they’re in control of all county facilities. That is false,” Nassour explained. “The law gives the sheriff the control of his facilities and his equipment.”

On a conference call with the Commissioners Court on April 28, the commissioners seemed to take being cut out of the decision-making process personally, KVUE reported.

“You just dissed the Commissioners Court,” Commissioner Terry Cook told Sheriff Chody. “We're in the middle of a pandemic crisis, and you want to throw non-critical personnel into vehicles to travel around the county when we have 'Stay Home, Stay Safe' orders?”

Commissioner Russ Boles warned that county’s insurance premiums for law enforcement could increase if “Live PD” films without a contract.

Sheriff Chody took to Twitter to prove that Boles had been talking out of both sides of his mouth.

The sheriff posted a screenshot of a text exchange with Boles in February asking for tickets to a “Live PD” watch party for his family.

“Commish Boles seems to have changed his tune on livepd,” Sheriff Chody tweeted. “He attended the watch party. And then calls me names? The remaining court takes what they hear in rumors instead of bringing to me. Commissioner Boles, Covey, & Long didn’t respond to my email. Why? Boles didn’t call back.”

The new year-long agreement signed by Sheriff Chody in March gave producers and production personnel permission to enter and film at the sheriff's office and its facilities, as well as in the deputies’ patrol vehicles, and production resumed in April, KVUE reported.

Comments (45)
No. 1-14
DPKrc
DPKrc

I'm a Texan and absolutely love LivePD. So glad Williamson County is back!!! Missed seeing LT Kennedy and all of the deputies. ❤️🇺🇸❤️

GIJOE62
GIJOE62

I enjoyed watching Williamson County, TX, glad to see it back on LivePD. Oh, way to go Sheriff Chody.

reverett456117502
reverett456117502

When the politicians stick their fingers in police work, it's never good!!!! They are not LEO's, they liars, I mean politicians!!!!!!

XIHP308
XIHP308

This all started before the COVID 19 debacle. So what's the deal if you need to ask inform your self Battle between commissioners and sheriff's is nothing new. Sheriffs don't tell them what is what they don't like it, they will not let this die a natural death.

RunCop
RunCop

Don’t y’all just love a great Texas sheriff!!! One with balls!

Justdone
Justdone

Beyond thrilled that Sheriff Chody has not just the balls to do this but the smarts to research who gets to control HIS DEPARTMENT. We see over and over politics play a game in which they know nothing about. To many times we watch the liberals believe they can do what they want and throw our LEO under the bus. Thank you Sheriff Chody for being the kind of MAN that stands up for what’s right. I watched you on an episode of Cold Case about the young girl that was murdered and doing all your Department can you solve this case. God Bless you and all your Deputies.

Stanracer
Stanracer

Good on the sherriff for standing up for his department. 👍🤣

CJ Spencer
CJ Spencer

So, did a Commissioner's friend or family member end up in cuffs? A compromising position perhaps?
Some of our elected "officials" here in Texas are showing their true colors during this whole "Ronavirus thing. Petty little dictators and wannbe kings of the realm.

PapaJon
PapaJon

My sister and brother-in-law live in Williamson County. The sheriff's office has an amazing relationship with the community. His entire staff is top notch. Sis calls the county commissioners the Williamson PMS Club. And yes ... the sheriff has grande huevos!

TexasGal1
TexasGal1

Great news!!!!!! I love my Live PD WilCo!!!! I can't get enough of Sheriff Chody and the rest of the department!

USMC1992
USMC1992

So how many people who think this is a good thing, also think it is a good thing that all of the felony arrests are dismissed because the sheriffs deputy will not collect the video of the felony arrest or put the name of the cameraman in the report? In Texas, ALL evidence has to be collected and turned over to the defense attorney, otherwise the case is dismissed or overturned on appeal. Look up Michael Morton Law.

chrpnbrd
chrpnbrd

For all of you that are so happy to see that WilCo is back, take a few and read what a wonderful, upstanding person this pig of a little man truly is. He should also be in jail for NOT collecting evidence and declaring open season on the citizens of that county. buddyfalcon.com

WilcoWays
WilcoWays

Our Sheriff is one of a kind for sure. He stands up for what he believes in, he's a great law man, he's caring and he won't back down !

Micada
Micada

I've seen articles about this on the news, heard them on the radio, read them in the newspapers, and even watched the video of commissioners court. This is the most one-sided article I've seen. You're definitely in favor of the sheriff even though we don't know who's right or how it's going to turn out yet. It's very misleading and irresponsible reporting.


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