Texas commissioners file lawsuit against sheriff over 'Live PD' filming

The show had followed Willamson County deputies until August, when the county ended their contract. The sheriff then signed a new agreement without county approval


Odessa Times

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas — The Williamson County Commissioners Court officially filed a lawsuit against Sheriff Robert Chody on Tuesday after they say he continued to allow "Live PD" producers to film in the county even though the court voted to terminate its agreement with the show last year.

Attorneys Randy Leavitt and Sean Breen released the following statement on behalf of the commissioners court:

"Williamson County is forced to bring this suit because Sheriff Robert Chody won’t respect the constitutional right of the commissioners court to make the business decisions for Williamson County. The commissioners court voted to terminate the contract with the TV show 'Live PD.' Sheriff Chody doesn’t need live TV to do his job, but he didn’t like losing the spotlight. More concerned about show business than sheriff business, Sheriff Chody went behind the commissioners’ backs and secretly and illegally tried to re-contract with the show. Because he doesn’t have the authority to do that, and because he won’t obey the cease-and-desist order of the commissioners court, we had to file suit to make the sheriff abide by the law."

The suit states that Sheriff Chody exposed the county to liability when he re-contracted with the company Big Fish to restart the show. Additionally, it states the sheriff also jeopardized criminal convictions and citizen protection for "TV ratings and exposure."

"Sheriff Chody claims what he signed with Big Fish is not a contract, it’s just an agreement,'" the suit states. "That claim would be laughable if this issue wasn’t so serious. There is no 'show business exception' to the Constitution. Sheriff Chody can perform the core duties of sheriff without the live TV show. But he doesn’t want to. Instead, Sheriff Chody seeks social media and TV exposure like a moth to a light bulb – and he’s flown out of his job description to get back on TV."

The contract with the show was terminated in August of 2019. In April 2020, Sheriff Chody announced on Twitter that that "Live PD" was back in Williamson County.

The commissioners court then sent a cease-and-desist letter to the show and its affiliates after the sheriff's office reportedly allowed a crew member to join a lieutenant in a patrol vehicle to film.

A copy of the lawsuit can be viewed here.

According to the Williamson County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Chody has not yet been served with the lawsuit and is unable to comment.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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