The videos shown on “Worlds Wildest” series are generally more exciting than those on the long-running show “Cops”. Viewers are treated to scenes of officers dealing with sudden, unpredictable, wild events. Sherriff Bunnell attempts to misdirect audiences towards a very much slanted interpretation resulting in a conclusion that the police are always in control of every aspect in any given situation. The suspects are consistently portrayed as the ones who are wild, unpredictable, dangerous or even drug crazed. All of the excitement that the show produces is attributed to the desperation of the suspect who ultimately is always out gunned, out driven and out horse-powered by the almighty police.
John Bunnell would have viewers believe that even the ones that got away (of which very few are ever shown) are always caught a short time later. The people that are being pursued in these video segments are almost never referred to in what has been known as politically correct terminology rather, they are called renegades, robbers, idiots, stupid criminals and the like. Granted, these suspects may actually be guilty of some crime, which is why they are being chased in the first place but, whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? In the world of “World’s Wildest Police Videos”, that idea just doesn’t make the cut.
One can only speculate about what content that is edited out because while police departments own the videotapes and have control over how they are used, “WWV” only shows segments which can easily be shown as pro cop and anti bad guy. Further examination of these videos, would show all police cams show at least standard information such as date and time. This is where sharp viewers can easily spot edited segments of “Worlds Wildest Police Videos”. Edited video segments will reveal things such as repeated sections, obvious editing in the sequence of events, and the fact that a chase actually lasted more than an hour when the show would have you think that it took only minutes to complete. Calls to the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that police produced surveillance is available only to individuals involved in some type of litigation with the police department. Those of us who have little or no encounters with the police can rely on “WWPV” and John Bunnell to provide us with his characteristically slanted view on how the police do their jobs.
Only an extremely naive viewer would think that reality television is real in any meaningful sense of the term. Viewers should have no doubt that what they are seeing is a carefully packaged product. The “Worlds Wildest” package produces a consistent message: the police always make good decisions and the suspects are always guilty and functions as an excellent PR device for police institutions. Police work appears as a high-speed, high-tech, and often dangerous adventure. The narration provides the officer’s side of the story on controversial police practices that have drawn public criticism, such as prolonged high-speed pursuits, ramming fleeing cars in such chases, and unwarranted searches of automobiles. These actions are depicted by the “Worlds Wildest” series as consistently effective and safe forms of law enforcement. In the world of “World’s Wildest Police Videos”, no one is ever hurt and all the suspects are blatantly guilty, regardless of any court of law. In all of the episodes that we have watched, the guilt of every suspect was made evident early on in the scene. Evidence of a featured crime is usually shown before the camera or Bunnell told viewers that the suspect was later convicted. There are few if any, segments shown in which an officer pulls someone over for suspicious driving, finds no evidence of any wrongdoing, and lets the person go with a warning. Such images do not meet the criteria for the “Worlds Wildest” series.
Police surveillance cameras have the potential to serve both police and suspects, yet viewers of “World’s Wildest Police Videos”
are never shown anything that might possibly vindicate any suspect in any scene. In many cities, the installation of squad-car cameras has come in response to calls for greater police accountability.
While surveillance images may serve as evidence against police in a court of law, in the realm of the “World’s Wildest Police Videos”
they serve only as evidence of the futility of resisting police authority.