On Thursday, March 11, Milwaukee’s Public Safety and Health Committee will discuss a resolution “approving an agreement between the Milwaukee Police Department and A&E’s The First 48 regarding participation in a television production.” According to the resolution, “A&E’s The First 48 approached the Police Department with a proposal to embed videographers and producers with detectives in the Homicide Division for the purpose of documenting homicide investigations for one or more future episodes.”
MPD has confirmed the request. “The Milwaukee Police Department is seeking approval for an agreement to be a featured law enforcement agency on the A&E documentary television series The First 48,” Sgt. Efrain Cornejo tells Milwaukee Record. “We believe participation in the show will highlight the positive relationship between the community and the Milwaukee Police Department necessary to ensure justice for those who lost loved ones as a result of homicide.”
The agreement needs approval from the committee, and ultimately the full Common Council and Mayor Barrett. Alderman Mark Borkowski is the sponsor of the resolution.
The First 48 is described as a “documentary-style reality television show produced by Kirkstall Road Enterprises and distributed by the A&E Network that shows behind-the-scenes footage of real-life criminal investigations while following homicide detectives in the critical first 48 hours of investigation.” It has been on the air since 2004.
“Participation in A&E’s The First 48 would confer a number of benefits to the Police Department,” reads the resolution. “Episodes of A&E’s The First 48 featuring footage of Police Department investigations would document the Police Department’s commitment and professionalism while investigating homicides, show detectives’ efforts to seek justice for victims and their families, and humanize and present officers and detectives in a unique light to the local community. Other cities that have participated in A&E’s The First 48 have found that doing so raised the local police department’s profile while serving as a recruiting tool.”
The resolution also notes that “participation may or may not result in the broadcast of one or more episodes featuring the Police Department’s investigation of a homicide,” and that “the Police Department will not receive compensation for participating in production of A&E’s The First 48, nor does the Department expect to incur any costs associated with participation.”
The Public Safety and Health Committee will discuss the matter at its meeting on Thursday, March 11 at 9 a.m.
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