Commissioners try to stop ‘COPS’ return

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — A war against the TV show “COPS” is brewing in Albuquerque as two Bernalillo County commissioners are now working to try to stop the show from recording new episodes in the area.

Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston said earlier this week he’s welcoming the show’s producers back to the metro area by letting them film alongside deputies. However, now he’s facing growing opposition from people who say the show is bad news for Albuquerque and New Mexico.

County commissioners Debbie O’Malley and Maggie Hart Stebbins are behind a new push to get the sheriff to change his mind.

“We don’t think it’s a good idea,” said Hart Stebbins.

“I don’t see how that brings anything positive to the county,” said O’Malley.

The two commissioners have now signed a letter to Sheriff Houston, asking him to reconsider his decision to invite the show back.

“It is not entertainment, the struggles we have here in this community,” said Hart Stebbins.

Sheriff Houston made the announcement Thursday, saying filming will begin in April 2014. Houston only had one thing to say about the show. In a quote, Houston stated, “This is a great way to showcase the high quality deputies that we have here in Bernalillo County.”

However, the two commissioners say they’re worried the show will have a negative impact on efforts to recruit new business to the county.

“It affects all of the work we’re doing to try and grow jobs here,” said Hart Stebbins.

Albuquerque Economic Development Inc. agrees as well. It sent a letter to Sheriff Houston, saying when “COPS” filmed with Albuquerque Police, businesses moving to the area had serious questions and concerns.

“It was mostly fear. Comments about (how) this (area) was dangerous, there’s a lot of crime,” said O’Malley.

Former Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez banned “COPS” from filming with APD in 2004 because of image concerns. Commissioners are urging the sheriff to reconsider.

“I don’t know if Sheriff Houston talked to anyone about this before he made the decision, I wish he had,” said O’Malley.

KRQE News 13 attempted to contact Sheriff Houston several times Saturday, but he did not answer our call or respond to our text message. A Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department spokesman said Houston will likely respond sometime during the work-week.

O’Malley and Hart Stebbins are the only commissioners to speak out against the show so far. Meanwhile, Commissioner Wayne Johnson told KRQE News 13 on Thursday that he welcomes “COPS” return. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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