Crime analysts Michelle Sigona and Sheriff Mark Lamb of A&E’s Live PD: Wanted understand what it means to work around the clock. When they’re not on the show, Lamb is serving as sheriff in Pinal County, Arizona—a more-than-full-time job in its own right. As for Sigona, she’s an Emmy Award-winning TV journalist who volunteers at a firehouse in southern Maryland in her spare time.
Not that they’re complaining. After all, they know that all over this country, law enforcement agents are similarly working around the clock to bring dangerous fugitives to justice. Their show, Live PD: Wanted, where they work alongside host Tom Morris Jr., gives A&E viewers a front-row seat to that demanding work every Thursday at 9P. A&E Real Crime caught up with the two analysts to discuss what makes the show such compelling television.
Given that this is a spinoff from Live PD, what’s the difference between Live PD: Wanted and the original series?
Sheriff Lamb: At Live PD: Wanted, we’re focused on trying to tap into the viewers of Live PD to help catch fugitives, and also to highlight some of the good catches from the agencies we follow.
Michelle Sigona: Live PD: Wanted brings so much to the table for viewers. It really goes on the inside of these arrests. With a lot of [crime] stories on television now, you see the aftermath of what has happened—after there was a conviction. Or maybe the very beginning steps. This is sort of the midpoint: making arrests, getting people in handcuffs and bringing them to court for justice.
Season 2 of Live PD: Wanted is now underway. What were some of your most memorable moments from Season 1?
Sigona: One of the arrests we had was a cave capture. I don’t think any of us had ever seen anything like that play out before on television. They were going after one target in the desert—they were going through the sand and tracking footprints and really leading this journey. And they ended in a cave… I thought that was really interesting and unique to see how investigative tools were utilized in the field [in that case].
Lamb: We had another one with a caricature artist who was robbed by a kid. He drew a picture, and right when he was finishing, the kid grabs all the artist’s money and takes off. That was one we were able to solve based on an anonymous tip that came from a Live PD viewer. We’re excited to showcase that one.
Only a few weeks ago, a Live PD: Wanted viewer tip helped U.S. Marshals apprehend Melody Bannister, who was featured on Season 1. Would you consider that the show’s biggest success thus far?
Lamb: That’s a huge success. Any time you’re dealing with [a fugitive situation where there are kids [involved], you want to bring some justice. That was a situation where a father was getting custody of the kids and the mother had taken off and taken the kids with her. And obviously the father wanted to get his kids back. Without Live PD: Wanted viewers, I think she’d still be out there.
Sigona: It shows the power of the Live PD nation… Her children are safe. They’re going through a very large readjustment period right now, where they’re having to learn how to be kids again, how to go to school, how to be a part of their dad’s life. And we can only hope and pray that that process becomes easier as time goes on.
What do you find gratifying about working on this show?
Sigona: One of the biggest joys for me personally is getting to work with Tom Morris Jr. again. [I worked with] Tom at the beginning of my career, when I was an intern at America’s Most Wanted in college. We spent a lot of time together during my early years in the television industry. He’s always been at my side. I think it’s great that we’re able to take all our experience together and combine it with the sheriff’s field experience and bring that analysis to the viewers.
Lamb: It’s given people a glimpse into what we do on a daily basis in law enforcement. I saw it as a way to promote law enforcement and also provide a way for other young people in law enforcement to see the way I do my job as a sheriff. Hopefully they can say, ‘I can treat people with dignity and respect and still be respected.’
Why do you think viewers tune in to your show week in and week out?
Lamb: You’ve got the Live PD factor, first and foremost. That’s been such a successful show that it made the transition a lot easier.
We’re dealing with people who are wanted and have [allegedly] committed crimes. I think people want to the bad guys get caught and they want to participate in finding the bad guys.
Any last thoughts?
Sigona: I feel like with the power of a national television show, and with how social media is today, and with people wanting to help, anything can be accomplished. I hope this show inspires others to do the right thing.
Lamb: I hope viewers tune in and help us catch some bad guys!