From taking down crack dealers and luring in johns to offering domestic advice to unhappy couples, the female officers on TLC's Police Women prove they can do anything male officers can do ... and maybe even more.
The reality show, currently in its second season, is now filming in Memphis for a future season. TLC camera crews are following four female Memphis Police Department (MPD) uniform patrol officers for six weeks.
"They'll be riding in the car with them, going from call to call, while the officers do their day-to-day activities," says MPD spokesperson Karen Rudolph. "At this point, the crews are interviewing the officers and getting to know their home life."
Shown in a similar format to television's Cops, TLC's Police Women follows officers as they apprehend and arrest criminals. But the show also features snippets from the officers' personal lives.
"You'll see the human side of an officer. We're not all machines," Rudolph says.
Several weeks ago, Rudolph sent out the call for interested female officers. About 50 women showed up to be interviewed by the TLC crew, and four uniform patrol officers were chosen. Of the MPD's 2,300 officers, about 450 are women.
The selected officers come from the Airways, Union, Tillman, and Mt. Moriah stations.
It isn't the first time the MPD has been filmed for a reality series. From 2005 to 2008, the department's homicide unit was featured on A&E's The First 48. But police director Larry Godwin suspended filming in May 2008 after several Memphis City Council members expressed concern over how the show affected the city's high-crime image.
"I don't know how positive you can make a homicide unit look, since all you see are homicides," Rudolph says. "But [with the TLC show], the uniform patrol officers will be going all over Memphis. And they won't only be taking bad calls. There are positive things we do other than just lock people up."
Memphis City Council member Wanda Halbert was one of those who had concerns about The First 48. She thought A&E should have contributed a portion of the show's profits to a crime victim's fund and would like to see TLC do so, as well.
"Why would a show generate a fan base and revenue if they're not reinvesting back into the process of prosecution or criminal rehabilitation?" Halbert asks.
According to Rudolph, the MPD is not receiving any compensation from TLC. The MPD is not sure when the Memphis series will air, and representatives from TLC did not return phone calls.