On April 19, 2019 Live PD will air its 200th episode. To mark the milestone, A&E Real Crime asked you, the Live PD Nation, what you’re just dying to know about host Dan Abrams and analysts Tom Morris Jr. and Sgt. Sean ‘Sticks’ Larkin. From ride-alongs, to tattoos, to what it is that makes Live PD so special, we asked all three of them some of your best questions.
Which one of you makes it harder for the other two to keep a straight face on camera? —Patrick Ray
STICKS: It’s probably Dan—he’s the maestro. So when we’re going to a break or from one place to another, he’s the guy who’s talking. He gets to say the last thing, or the first thing. He’ll set the tone sometimes, and we have to keep a straight face.
DAN: I don’t tell them what my jokes are going to be sometimes, and sometimes I’ll make a comment that will have them laughing.
TOM: Dan is the one most likely to just shock and crack us up with some random pun. Sticks has cracked me up too—like the time he dabbed (a dance move) during the show. That was hilarious.
How does Sticks pull off hosting Live PD, while also being a full-time sergeant? —Judi Grado
STICKS: I work Monday through Thursday in Tulsa, and when I get off 4 o’clock, I catch a 5 o’clock flight, which gets me to New York. I do the show Friday, Saturday, and fly back Sunday. There is very little downtime, but I’m still runnin’ and gunnin’ and having fun with both.
What is displayed on those tablets in front of you? —Brad Kathrins
TOM: On the tablets we’re usually watching the Live PD twitter feeds.
Dan, are you ever going to do a ride-along on an episode? —Amy Gibson
DAN: I would love to. I’ve actually encouraged the producers to allow me to go on the road, but as you can imagine, dealing with eight departments at once, in a live show, would be a technical challenge to say the least. We have not yet figured out exactly how we could do it in a way that makes sense, but it’s something we are often discussing.
Does Dan come up with his own puns, or is there an unsung hero behind the scenes? —RJ Rich
DAN: Most of them, I come up with myself. The ones where I am leading into a taped piece are sometimes written by a guy named Evan Cutler, who is very funny, and a terrific writer. The ones that are live, based on what we’re watching, the vast majority of the time, those are mine. Occasionally, I’ll say, ‘Oh, Tom just said, or Sticks just said…’ but the vast majority of the time I have to own the fact that they are funny—or annoying—depending on your perspective.
How does Sticks find time to keep those ‘guns’ in shape? —Judi Grado
STICKS: I think it is what keeps my mind right, it’s what keeps me from going crazy. Ever since I was a teenager, fitness has always been a part of my life. It’s my chance to step back, away from whatever is going on, whether it’s family, or both jobs, and gives me an hour or so, five days a week, to myself. It’s a great stress reliever and I feel good about myself afterward, so I make it a priority no matter what is going on, whichever city [I’m in], to get some time in the gym.
I would like to know if the cameraperson ever had to intervene to help an officer. —Peggy Mcdonough
DAN: It’s not a cameraperson’s job to do that. We’re there to chronicle what’s happening. The minute we start becoming an arm of law enforcement, it fundamentally changes what we’re doing and actually how we can do it.
A&E Real Crime: Has that been something you’ve had to talk about with the camerapeople, in cases where it’s hard not to step in, where they feel like they could help in some way?
DAN: There was an incident in Richland County, when [Chris] Mastrianni chased that car, and the guy pulled out his two-year-old, and Mastrianni tried to get the two-year-old away from him, and eventually he was able to. Our producer walked up and grabbed the 2-year-old and held her. So it’s not that our people in the field are not human. But it is important that we not be seen as being there to be part of law enforcement. We’re there to be covering law enforcement. It is an important distinction.
The officers often seem to park far away when they get to a scene and have to walk or run to get where the action is. Why? —Nancy Strack
STICKS: That distance is our friend. It gives us an opportunity to react, to protect ourselves at times. If you’re going to a domestic disturbance call, you don’t want to pull up right in front of the house. You want to park a couple of houses down, with your lights off. [Then you can] walk up to the house. You don’t want them knowing you’re there right away. This way you can listen to what’s going on and try to get some intelligence before you take action.
My daughter, who is 10, wants to become a police officer because of Sticks. She would like to know at what age did he know he wanted to work in law enforcement? —Jamie Batayias
STICKS: I was probably 15 or 16 years old. I was very interested in law enforcement. Pretty much my entire life, there were two things I knew I was going to do: I was either going to go into law enforcement or I was going to try to go into sports medicine. I made the decision right out of high school to go the law-enforcement route, and I’ve never thought twice about it.
What has been your most embarrassing moment on TV or on set? —Sara Pennington Carpenter
TOM: My most embarrassing moment was on my first episode when I attributed the rap song “Ridin'” to Flo Rida and the Twitter audience quickly said it was by Chamillionaire. Dan told me the feedback and I thanked the viewers for correcting me, and we had a good, live on-set laugh. It really broke the ice.
This question is for Sticks. Which drugs or substances taken by suspects makes them the most dangerous to apprehend? —Rhonda Starnes
STICKS: I don’t like dealing with people on methamphetamine or ice, because it creates paranoia a lot of times. And sometimes you come across guys on PCP who are just very low and mellow, and other times they’re amped up and they’re not making any sense at all.
A&E Real Crime: Has there been a time you’ve needed to keep yourself safe with regard to this?
STICKS: Yeah, actually, we had one just a couple of weeks ago. We had a pawn shop that was broken into, where a bunch of rifles were stolen. We had information that they were at a house where people were using and selling methamphetamine. So we knew they were armed, and these people were using meth and selling it, and [we realized] the paranoia that comes with it.
I’ve probably been involved in 700 to 800 search warrants since I’ve been in the department. There have been very few times before we run a search warrant, where I’m thinking, Man, this one’s got a weird feeling to it. And that was one of them. I even called both of my kids before I went to it and I never do that. Just, ‘Hey we’re going on something that’s a little out of the ordinary, just want to tell you guys I love you,’ type of deal. Luckily everything turned out alright. We got the guns.
When are you getting matching tattoos? —John D. Mclaughlin
STICKS: Well, considering I’m the only one of the three who has them, I’m down for it in a heartbeat. If those two guys ever man up, we’ll do it. I’ll even pay for all three of them.
DAN: [laughs] That would mean that Tom and I would have to get tattoos to match Sticks’, so I think it’s safe to say at this point that I will not be getting any tattoos. I think Sticks is going to be our Tat Guy.
TOM: I have no tattoos and have never wanted one.
Where did Sticks’ nickname come from? — Cathy Horne Griffin
STICKS: We’ll try to do the rated-G version. I was doing my internship with a police department. I was not a police officer. I was riding with some officers, and we were in a car chase and a suspect had jumped out of the car and taken off running. I jumped out to chase after the guy and tackled him, which I wasn’t supposed to do, because once again, I wasn’t a cop, I didn’t have a gun, flashlight, handcuffs or anything like that. I held this guy down until one of the other officers, who was right behind me, caught up and got the guy handcuffed, and he said, ‘Great job, but you can’t do that, F___ stick.’
And so that’s what it’s short for and it has kind of carried through my career. And somewhere in the early years, when I actually did get out on the street, somehow the S was added to the end of it and it became Sticks.
What’s your favorite thing about being a part of Live PD? — David DeWitt
DAN: It really does feel like a family. Tom, Sticks and I legitimately enjoy hanging out off-camera together. And I really like the producers of the show and the officers we’re covering. I like the camera people on the show. And just as important, I love interacting with the Live PD Nation. They are part of what we do, and it’s not just a phrase. We care enormously how they respond to what we are doing, and that definitely makes the whole thing feel familial.
I feel the show has improved the image of law enforcement. Do you feel the same? —Maryanne Mychajliw McMahon
STICKS: Absolutely. I think [besides] law enforcement, the only other line of work or career out there where people think they know how it should be done is politics. [Viewers] see what we can go through, how fast something can go downhill for us, how you have to be a family counselor, a mental-health counselor, and at times you’re almost like a paramedic out there, treating somebody for an injury.
I’ve [heard from] people across the country through social media, including people who are criminals or gang members, and that’s what they’ve even said, like, ‘Hey man, watching the show and the way you guys talk about things and explain things.’ It kind of opens their eyes to stuff they weren’t aware of.
What tricks do you all have to keep yourselves from full-out laughing on camera? We see some hysterical moments on Live PD! — Laura Marth
STICKS: My facial expressions, I think, say it all. Without a doubt, out of the three, I’m the one who does the most facial expressions. Either I’m thinking something funny, or biting my tongue. Because people are able to pause live TV now and take photos. They send them in quite a bit! So I chuckle when I see some of the faces I make. So no, I don’t think I do a good job, necessarily, of hiding what’s going on in my mind. I’m just fortunate that I don’t laugh. I have no special trick, there’s no thumbtack in my shoe. I just roll with it.
DAN: I try not to laugh, if there’s something that’s a little racy that I’m sort of making an allusion to, I don’t want to make it obvious in case there are kids listening. The parents will get it, and if they want to explain it they can; and if they don’t, they don’t have to. And so it’s hard for me sometimes when I think of something [that’s] funny, not to laugh myself, as I’m delivering it. I have to get myself back into game mode, and say it with a totally straight face. Even though I want to laugh or smile as I’m saying it.
TOM: Sometimes you just have to hold it in and not burst out into hysterics. We really do have a lot of fun between the serious moments on the show. But first and foremost, this show is about the officers, the K9s and the citizens they encounter.
Tom and Sticks, what profession other than law enforcement would you like to try? —Miss_Taken_Identity
STICKS: Believe it or not, I’ve still thought about going into nursing. I like the medical world and the ability to travel; you can live pretty much anywhere and still have that career.
TOM: If I could try something else, it might be standup comedy.