John Langley, the creator of the television series, “Cops,” died at an off-road race in Mexico over the weekend.
According to ABC News, “Langley died in Baja, Mexico, of an apparent heart attack Saturday during the Coast to Coast Ensenada-San Felipe 250 off-road race, family spokeswoman Pam Golum said. He was 78.”
Last year, Paramount took the successful “Cops” series off of its network, caving to criticism that the show portrayed a “pro-police perspective,” in its videos of police encounters, per ABC News.
“‘Cops’ is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return,” a Paramount Network spokesperson said in a statement at the time.
A report by Variety announced the cancellation of the series last year before it was officially confirmed that the show would not be returning to the network.
On Sunday, Variety reported:
For 32 seasons, [“Cops”] was a reality TV juggernaut, running for over 1,000 episodes and introducing the cinéma vérité style of documentary to television. The familiar theme song by Ian Lewis of Inner Circle became a part of pop culture. It remains in production for overseas networks.
After being canceled by Fox in 2013, “Cops” moved to the Spike network, now Paramount Network before being canceled again in 2020. A podcast had detailed how police were able to remove portions of the shows that showed them negatively and how some people were coerced into signing waivers.
After trying for several years to find a network, Langley and his production partner Malcolm Barbour were able to get the show on the air at the fledging Fox in the aftermath of the 1988 Writers Guild strike, since it had no union writers.
In its early years, “Cops” was nominated four times for Emmys in the outstanding informational series category.
Langley, born in Oklahoma City, was raised in Los Angeles, California. He reportedly graduated from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and also served in the United States Army in the 1960s.
ABC News reported that Langley produced other creations over the years, as well, including the 2009 film “Brooklyn’s Finest.” He was also a producer “on the non-fiction series ‘Jail,’ ‘Vegas Strip’ and ‘Anatomy of a Crime.’”
“Langley is survived by his son and producing partner, Morgan, who oversees their company Langley Productions; another son, Zak; two daughters, Sara Langley Dews and Jennifer Blair; his wife, Maggie, and seven grandchildren,” per the outlet.
Anti-police rhetoric in Hollywood and the mainstream media have led to a surge of police officers looking to change their professions in the past year after riots and protests took hold in major cities across the country.
As The New York Times reported, the number of police officers retiring and leaving the force went up last year. According to the Times, “A survey of about 200 police departments indicates that retirements were up by 45 percent and resignations by 18 percent in the period between April 2020 and April 2021, when compared with the preceding 12 months.”
“The percentage of officers who left tended to be larger for departments in big or medium-size cities, according to the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington policy institute that will release full data next week,” The Times added.
“We have lost about one-third of our staff to resignation and retirement,” said Chief David Zack of the Asheville Police Department in North Carolina. “Certainly with the way that police have been portrayed and vilified in some cases, they have decided that it is not the life for them.”
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