“Live PD” returns to television this week, but this time around, the show will have a new name and different protocols after facing backlash for destroying the footage of Javier Ambler’s death.
After A&E canceled the law enforcement docuseries in 2020, “Live PD” will now air on Reelz under the new name “On Patrol: Live.” Host Dan Abrams initially suggested it was a “working” title, but it appears the name has stuck.
Along with a different name, the new version of “Live PD” will have different protocols for erasing footage. In the past, the show was criticized for erasing footage of Ambler’s death.
In 2019, 40-year-old Ambler was in Austin, Texas, when he died in police custody. While his death was captured by police cameras, “Live PD” was also on the scene.
However, their video of the incident never aired, and A&E Networks said the footage was deleted.
When “On Patrol: Live” premieres, Abrams revealed they will continue deleting footage after 30 days but will reconsider the policy in the event of an incident similar to Ambler’s death.
“We’re going to make more exceptions. The general rule is still going to be that we’re not going to retain tape for more than 30 days. We don’t want to become an arm of law enforcement. When I say that, I mean we don’t want to serve as a repository for either law enforcement or defense attorneys to be able to just use the footage,” Abrams told Entertainment Weekly.
“Now, if we get a request in the window, we’re going to hold [the footage]. But I think the difference is, if there is any other incident like that one, of course, the tape is going to be retained.”
Going forward, Abrams claimed producers will be in charge of storing unusual footage. “I think that the previous rule was far too doctrinaire and too strict — it was 30 days, and unless we have a subpoena, we destroyed the tape,” Abrams said.
“This time around, we are going to be cautious about that when there’s something where we think, ‘This is an exceptional event,’ even though we didn’t air it, the producers are going to keep it.”
Abrams also noted that he wasn’t aware of the Ambler footage back in 2019 but believes “if something else like this happens [with “On Patrol: Live”], that they will consult with me.”
On the new show, Abrams expects the incident to be aired without showing the death itself and for the footage to be retained.
“On Patrol: Live” premieres Friday at 8 p.m. ET on Reelz.