Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:August 28th, 2014 14:27 EST
In the 'Cops` Story,' Why Would Omaha PD Allow a TV Crew In During a Real 211?

In the 'Cops` Story,' Why Would Omaha PD Allow a TV Crew In During a Real 211?

By John G. Kays

I`m in need of repeated examinations of the upside-down Cops` Story in Omaha, Nebraska (I believe there`s a Wendy`s Hamburgers restaurant chain that requires consideration also), unfolding in the news, cautiously, ever so gingerly, requiring, as we do, a careful separation of what`s Real, or rather, what may be Unreal. 

It`s been quite a few years since I`ve watched this show, however, I will say, I`ve been making a point lately, of watching Jack Webb`s Dragnet (1967) on Netflix, so perhaps this may help me to better analyze the situation where a Cops TV show crew member, Bryce Dion, 38, was shot and killed, along with an actual robber, Cortez Washington, 32

Just to add a little more confusion to an already perplexingly tangled web (requiring a cumbersome sorting out of Reality TV), our robber used a fake gun (an airsoft pistol). My immediate reaction to Washington`s weapon of choice, while it contradicts what we`ve heard in the news, is that the show must`ve used him as plant (yea, Cortez was an actor playing a part on TV).

Okay, so I`ve had to carefully back myself out of this skeptical and prejudicial, conspiracy-laced parking space, but it hasn`t been too easy for me. Like I said, I view quite a few Dragnets (I especially love Henry Morgan as Bill Gannon), and I just saw Copland on Sunday; yet the difference between these shows and Cops, is supposedly, Cops is the Real Deal - nothing is staged. I`ve been trying to keep that in mind, but still I`m not so sure I totally believe it. 

When considering the history of police-oriented television, you have to think Dragnet is pretty much the Godfather (probably an overused and inappropriate use of that highly charged phrase, but what the hell), the wellspring, as it were, of a long line of entertaining police shows, that should include Highway Patrol, Adam-12, Emergency,Columbo, Kojak, Barnaby Jones, etc., and we finally make our way, ever so circuitously, to Cops, which claims to be the very first Reality TV show. Nevertheless, I still can`t put all of this together in anyway that makes much sense...

I realize this is not a time to get cute, that two men are dead and this was an actual robbery that was caught in progress by the Omaha Police. The fact of the matter is, the Cops TV crew just so happened to be on the scene with the Omaha Policemen who were responding to a 211, but here`s where I start to have doubts, getting a bit itchy, prompting me to ask hard questions that are bothering me, as far as this Wendy`s robbery goes. 

Why would real Omaha Cops let the crew film a 211 (an armed robbery in progress)? I realize the show wants to get in on the action as close as possible, but still, isn`t this allowance stepping over the line? And then we might ask, even if they did okay their presence in the Wendy`s, why does it look as if Bryce Dion died as a result of Friendly Fire? 

And then we hear, Bryce Dion had a bullet-proof vest on, but that the shell managed to sneak through the side of his vest. I believe, it`s the low level of probability that`s forcing me to question, if not doubt, this event, this incident involving yet two more men (non-cops) who are dead as a result of police fire. 

My putting this skepticism to rest is contingent on quite a few factors; a scratchy inclination is to suspect there`s something entirely different going on here, just beneath the surface. I guess, I shouldn`t just have watched Serpico and Copland to boot, but I did (why did Cortez bring a BB gun to pull off a 211?)! A new twist? But of course!