Williamson County commissioners end 'Live PD' contract

Story updated at 2:27 p.m. Aug. 20

Williamson County commissioners voted unanimously to end its contract with Big Fish Entertainment LLC, which produces “Live PD.”

The court decided to end the contract Aug. 20 following allegations against Commander Steve Deaton for inappropriate behavior, such as challenging deputies in a meeting to have sex with a female “Live PD” producer and posting offensive images on Facebook.

"My hope is that every member of our community feels safe and valued, but the images posted by Commander Deaton do not promote this," Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey said. "I am opposed to what is happening here, and I'm sickened that it hasn't been addressed yet."

“Live PD” is a documentary series on the A&E Network that follows law enforcement officers live in the course of their nighttime patrols.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Cynthia Long and Covey previously tried to end the contract with the show in May, saying the show did not accurately portray life in the county.

Long said during the Aug. 20 meeting that if the employee had worked for her, he would have been fired immediately.

County Judge Bill Gravell, who was previously in favor of the show, directed the court's legal counsel to end the contract.

"[Big Fish Entertainment] will no longer have permission to film our office, facilities or vehicles or anything associated with Williamson County or Williamson County Sheriff's Office," Gravell said.

Gravell added the court does not have the authority to fire Deaton because that is at the purview of Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody, but the county can set policies to address the issue.

Gravell said the court will adopt an updated countywide social media policy in the following weeks. Chody said Deaton has yet to be fired due to a vague social media policy. As of 2 p.m., Aug. 20 Deaton was still employed by the  Williamson County Sheriff’s Office.

Chody did not immediately respond for comment.

Several county residents spoke on the topic during the public comment period, saying the show negatively impacted the county.

“I think we have great people serving as police officers, but you bring a camera, and it's time to be on stage,” Williamson County resident Sharon Cummings said.

 

 
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By Ali Linan

Ali Linan began covering Georgetown for Community Impact Newspaper in 2018. Her reporting focuses on education and Williamson County. Ali hails from El Paso and graduated from Syracuse University in 2017.


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