Jim Brooks, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette March 12, 2001, Monday Copyright 2001 Little Rock Newspapers, Inc. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette March 12, 2001, Monday
(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) -- The name is changing and the content has been modified, but there is still a plan to eventually debut John TV on Little Rock's government-access cable television channel.
But only if the expanded program meets with the approval of city officials.
The program, proposed last year and based on similar programs in other cities, was originally to broadcast only the arrest mug shots of men and women convicted of prostitution-related crimes, along with a summary of the circumstances of the arrest.
But last year, city directors expressed no support for the proposal, suggesting that there were more serious crimes that should be highlighted. So, John TV was set on a back burner and the assistant city manager, Bruce Moore, was asked to oversee the idea.
"The police department is doing some additional research on program parameters and also researching potential other names if we go forward with it," Moore said. "It most likely will be expanded from just prostitution."
Capt. Charles Holladay commands the Little Rock Police Department's Special Investigations Division, which includes vice and narcotics detectives, and is in charge of the program for the department.
"We're in the process of putting together the first series of photographs, and we're trying to come up with a diverse group of people," Holladay said Friday.
"We will include things like prostitution, escort services and patronizing [prostitutes], but we'll also include things like selling alcohol to minors and gambling or any other misdemeanor-related activity that this division investigates."
Holladay said his employees have gathered the first batch of about 20 photos and background information from the division's files for October.
"That is sort of the time when we first started announcing that we were going forward with John TV, and we want to make sure that everybody we show has at least had the opportunity to be forewarned," he said.
The captain said the crimes for which a person could be featured on the program have been limited to those investigated by his division.
"We had some suggestions from the board that maybe we should include hot-check writers or DWIs," Holladay said, referring to those convicted of driving while intoxicated. "The problem with that is if we start spreading out to other divisions, then we sort of lose that security blanket and the odds of a mistake being made could grow."
Holladay said the proposal currently under consideration would run the program two days a week on the cable system's public access channel. The 15-minute program would include an announcement at the beginning and end of the broadcast explaining that the people featured on the program were convicted of misdemeanor offenses.
Moore said that because the program has been expanded past the original concept, aimed at prostitution, the name of the program will have to be changed.
An article in the Little Rock Police Department newsletter, asks police officers to suggest a name for the broadcast. But Holladay already has an idea.
"We're leaning to something like ViceTV," he said.
Last fall, when news of the proposal was released, many city directors weighed in with concerns that the program was too limited. But, Holladay said no one has approached him with a problem with the program.
"We're ready to move forward to this thing, and if someone has concerns, we'll address them," he said. "This is not a life-or-death thing for us.
"It's a new program that we hope will work."
In the next few weeks, Holladay will report back to Moore with the plans for the expanded program.
"We'll review it, and we told the board we'd give them an update once the additional research was completed," Moore said. "We're still in what I would call the research phase."
The assistant city manager said it will probably be months before Little Rock residents can switch on their televisions to catch up on who's been convicted of a misdemeanor.