WSU Police do not think “Campus PD” is a realistic portrayal of campus policing.
By Jeffrey Alan Coté
The new season of the G4 police reality show “Campus PD” premiered Wednesday night. Much like Fox’s “Cops,” “Campus PD” rides along in squad cars and films altercations involving police officers. However, G4’s show focuses on police departments in college towns. According to the show’s website, the third season of the show features seven U.S. universities, one being WSU. According to a G4 media contact, “Campus PD” rode along with the Pullman Police Department last fall. No filming was done on the WSU campus, only in the town itself. Set to Jacques Offenbach’s classical piece “Orpheus in the Underworld,” the trailer for the third season comically chimes how the show features “tazing, hazing and busts that are amazing,” along with “crying, lying and coeds close to dying.” WSU Police Lt. Steven Hansen said he does not think “Campus PD” is realistic.
“They show the things that they think people want to see,” he said. “They don’t show the normal, day-to-day stuff where you’re taking reports of graffiti on a wall or you’re taking theft reports where somebody has a stolen parking permit … They don’t show that, because that’s not exciting. So they’re going to look and see what will attract people and what may stir controversy.” However, “Campus PD” producer Christine Cavalieri said the show is factual as well as entertaining. “We try to strike a balance between informative and entertaining,” she said. “The value in it comes from how successfully we achieve that balance. The show gives the audience insight into what it’s like to be a police officer working in a community with a very large number of young people.” Cavalieri also said most of the stories featured on the show involve alcohol. Hansen said you should take police reality shows at face value.
“Realize that these shows have to sell advertising, so they’re going to put things on there that will have people watch,” he said. “So they will not put some of the mundane stuff on there. They’re (going to) try and get stuff that will draw people’s attention and get viewers in there. They’d much rather show a person puking on the porch than someone getting helped.” Hansen also said he is not sure if he would let “Campus PD” film with the WSU Police Department.
“I wouldn’t want to sit there and have the potential for all the quality work that we do not be shown and have other things chosen that don’t necessarily depict what goes on all the time at our department,” he said.
Due to contractual obligations, representatives for the Pullman Police Department are unable to comment.