Chief Randy Fandal of the Slidell (Louisiana) Police Department recently stopped by the Live PD studio as a guest during the “Most Wanted” segment. He spoke with A&E True Crime about the impact the show has had on the department and the Slidell community, and about some April Fool’s fun.
What kind of impact has the show had on community relations for the Slidell Police Department?
It’s been a home run for us. When you can talk to people in Slidell and they tell you they have family night on Friday and Saturday Night to watch Live PD, it’s just unbelievable. It has surprised me.
What changes have you seen locally, now that the department’s been on the show?
It’s not a typical show where you see police chasing bad guys every day. [This audience] sees the mundane, silly stuff that police do every day, and I actually think that’s one of the draws of the show. People enjoy watching that!
Live PD was with us almost five months last year, and believe it or not, the violent crime went down to nothing. We thought that was a coincidence but we’re seeing the same thing this year: Live PD‘s been with us now for seven weeks [this year], and we’ve had very little violent crime. We don’t have a lot of violent crime anyhow, but [we have less] when Live PD‘s in town. [Now] our local criminals do not come out until about one in the morning on Fridays and Saturdays [after the show ends].
Are you in touch with any other departments on the show?
We’ve actually reached out to a couple of them. We talked to one of the deputies from Richland County, South Carolina about how their community policing has taken a turn for the better because of Live PD, and for the most part, everybody’s [departments] have.
Does your department use the show as a learning tool?
The guys watch it and they’ll critique what other agencies do, and critique themselves. My stress level goes up every Friday and Saturday night. I’ve got 38 years of law-enforcement experience, and when I see these guys interacting out there, I’m their biggest critic and fan. If they do something wrong, I’m going to go talk to them about it, tell them about what they did wrong.
For April Fool’s Day, the Slidell Police Department told Facebook followers that the department would be coming off social media and leaving the show. Tell us more about this prank!
I didn’t have a whole lot to do with that, but I thought it was hilarious. You would have thought that people would have recognized right off the bat that it was an April Fool’s joke, but people didn’t. [Laughs.] I pulled up the Facebook post and I was like, ‘Oh man, let’s see how this goes.’ A lot more people fell for it than I thought would.