‘The First 48′ TV show to feature more Gwinnett police, crime

Gwinnett County residents will see some familiar police officers on national television again in coming months.

Camera crews for “The First 48″ are filming Gwinnett police officers as they carry out homicide investigations within the first two days of a crime. Officers will also appear on “After the First 48,” a spinoff that revisits cases after the initial investigation and includes interviews with the families of victims, detectives, prosecutors and defense attorneys.

This won’t be Gwinnett officers’ first time in the limelight. Several investigations have aired on the A&E show since cameras started filming the department in 2017. Production halted in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic began.

On August 3, the county’s Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a renewal contract with Kirkstall Road Enterprises to continue to film and produce the shows. Episodes for both programs will air later this year and early next year.

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“We serve a large, metro community and what I think people should know about our agency is how professional and thorough our investigative unit is,” Police Chief Brett West said in a news release.

Gwinnett officers first appeared on the true crime docu-series in 2019 for their investigation of a fatal shooting that occurred at the Midnight Blu Cafe nightclub in Norcross. Another episode detailed the homicide case for the 2017 killing of George Young.

One or two cameramen show up at police headquarters while the homicide unit is in the office and follow officers to crime scenes, Cpl. Ryan Winderweedle said. Each episode focuses on a particular case, he said, and the department doesn’t dictate which ones air.

Former Police Chief Butch Ayers said in 2017 that the show chose to film the Gwinnett County Police Department due its high homicide clearance rate. In 2020, the department had a clearance rate of 85%. So far in 2021, the clearance rate is 86%.

“‘The First 48′ is victim-oriented,” Winderweedle said in an email. “It helps the community see how hard our homicide detectives work on solving cases, leading to our department’s high homicide clearance rate.”