Colorado fans of the reality television show “COPS” already know that a film crew follows law enforcement officers from different parts of the country while they answer real calls. Since officers are dealing with live, unscripted situations, that crew is routinely put in harm’s way right along with the officers with whom they ride. One film crew shooting footage last summer suffered a tragedy when a sound technician was fatally injured at work.
The officers the crew was riding with responded to a Wendy’s fast food restaurant where an armed robbery was in progress. The would-be robber pointed and fired what later turned out to be an air-pistol at the officers. When police fired back, the sound technician was caught in the cross-fire and hit by a bullet. Emergency personnel rushed him to an area hospital, but he later died.
It was confirmed that the “COPS” crew member was wearing a bullet proof vest as he rode with police officers in Omaha that day in August. Recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued its report, indicating that more training is needed to ensure the safety of Langley Productions’ employees. The production company has until March 31 to respond to a “Hazard Alert Letter” wherein OSHA outlined six recommendations to improve the safety of its employees. No citations were issued, and no fines were recommended.
Langley Productions says it will do what it can to further decrease the possibility of another employee being injured at work. Even so, like employees in any industry, no guarantee exists that an accident will not happen. Those employees who are injured have the same right to workers’ compensation benefits as workers here in Colorado. Further, the family of a fatally injured employee is typically entitled to death benefits through the compensation insurance program.
Source: jrn.com, “OSHA does not cite “COPS” producers, instead recommends more training”, Emily Szink, Feb. 17, 2015