BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – On Monday night, the Albuquerque City Council joined a growing group of business, city and county leaders trying to talk Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston out of bringing “COPS” back to the area.
The council voted 7-2 to approve a resolution to send a message strongly opposing Houston’s move.
“It’s important that when people look at ABQ, they want to come and work in our community,” said Council President Ken Sanchez, who backed the resolution.
Several business groups and Albuquerque Mayor R.J. Berry are also against letting “COPS” film in the Albuquerque area again for the first time since 2004. The concern is that the show will cast the city in a bad light and drive businesses away.
“I just see this as a real detriment to the community,” said Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley.
But Houston faced that criticism head on Monday, saying his intention isn’t to make the county look bad.
“My message has never changed,” Houston said. “All this was intended to do was to be able to showcase the great men and women of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department.”
Houston insists his deputies and the majority of the public support bringing “COPS” to the area.
Councilors Trudy Jones and Brad Winter voted against the resolution. Jones says she’s opposed to having the show here, but doesn’t think the City Council has any place dictating what a county official should do.
“I do not like the show, but it’s not my position to tell you,” Jones told Houston. “I can tell the mayor not to do it, I can tell our new chief not to do it, but it’s not our place to interfere in your business.”
Because the resolution is more about a message than anything else, there were councilors wondering if Houston would heed it and change his mind.
“I’ve always been open to reconsidering it,” Houston said. “I’m open to looking at other things we may be able to do that would provide the same type of recognition that I think the deputies hoped to get from this.”
Other councilors were worried “COPS” would unfairly focus on the South Valley and minority groups. Houston says the department has authority to make changes and promises all of the county will be featured on the show, not just one part.
With all the attention that “COPS” is getting, you would think that it still has a huge following, but according to “TV By the Numbers,” the show that caters to men ages 18 to 49 just isn’t as popular as it used to be.
“COPS” originally aired on FOX with last year’s finale bringing in nearly 3 million viewers. However, the show now airs on Spike TV and only garners about 1 million viewers.