NEW PORT RICHEY — The Pasco County Sheriff's Office is parting ways with Live PD, the television show that gave viewers a real-time look at deputies.
"We believe it is time for new agencies to be able to highlight, like we have, the good work their men and women do," the agency announced in a Facebook post Saturday.
For two seasons, Pasco deputies appeared on the A&E Network show, which broadcasts feeds live from law enforcement agencies around the country. Pasco's appearance had been a hit on social media — and when the Sheriff's Office made its Facebook announcement, it drew thousands of disappointed comments.
The partnership had critics, too.
Last summer, Pasco County Commissioners Jack Mariano and Kathryn Starkey questioned whether the show was fostering a negative image of the area. Mariano and Starkey were particularly concerned that businesses might forgo investing in the area because of what they saw.
At least one local businessman, Spencer Wolf of the Point Distillery in Hudson, said in a statement to Pasco commissioners last August, "I cannot help but think the current national television coverage of Live PD is exposing the county in the most destructive way possible."
But a tourism survey released in January showed most respondents didn't know or care about the show, and Sheriff's Office spokesman Kevin Doll said the commissioners' critiques weren't a factor in the agency's exit.
In fact, Pasco deputies might return to the screen, Doll said.
"The sheriff said we may go back," he said. "We're just taking a break."
Staff writer CT Bowen contributed to this report. Contact Justin Trombly at [email protected] Follow @JustinTrombly.