LAFAYETTE — A national television audience got a close up look at how first responders in Acadiana cope with tropical storms when they tuned into the popular "Live PD" program on A&E this weekend.
Barry's arrival coincided with the Lafayette Police Department's first filming days of the police ride along show on Friday and Saturday. The show, now in its third season, follows officers from police departments in rural and urban areas around the country during a night on the job.
Lafayette Police spokeswoman Cpl. Bridgette Dugas said the Live PD crew will regularly follow four Lafayette officers for the next six to eight weeks. The show airs live on Friday and Saturday nights with additional coverage shot during the week, she said.
The coverage rotates between the four officers each week to give viewers a fresh perspective while also letting them get to know the officers, Dugas said. Two dogs and handlers from the department’s canine unit will also be featured on the show.
First responders with the Baton Rouge police and fire departments and Emergency Management Services are participating in a similar show called First Responders Live that airs at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays on the Fox network.
"Once that patient says 'thank you,' you've done your job," the EMS team member says in a preview clip for “First Responders Live.”
Aside from the cameras, Dugas said, it’ll be business as usual for the officers.
Dugas said Chief Toby Aguillard sat down with officers during a briefing to discuss the program and said anyone feeling shy or uncomfortable with the cameras wouldn’t be forced to appear on the show. Aside from a bit of camera shyness, most officers on the force were excited for the opportunity to show people the city and the work they do, she said.
“I think it’ll better the relationship with the community and create a better understanding of the officers,” she said.
On Friday evening, the crew from "Live PD" met officers they’ll be following and suited up for the first time. Before setting out for the night, the show’s cameramen readied handheld cameras, grabbed bullet proof vests and fitted the officers with microphones.
Earlier in the day, the team outfitted the department’s units with dash cameras, microphones and a hookup to their headquarters in New York, Dugas said.
It was still sunny as the crew loaded into the police units about 5 p.m. Friday, the wind kicking up a bit as then-Tropical Storm Barry continued its approach toward Louisiana. The start of filming wasn’t purposefully timed to the storm’s arrival, but Dugas said it presented a good opportunity for viewers to understand what officers experience during dangerous storm situations.
“I think it will be very interesting capturing some of the situations our officers encounter during the storm. I think it’ll be eye opening for the community to see what they do during severe weather in the city,” she said in an inter.
The show will shoot from about 7:30 p.m. to roughly 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights. The footage will be fed to a live feed with a slight delay to allow for curse words to be edited out and suspects’ faces to be blurred, to protect people’s privacy, she said.
The show airs from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Central time.