First Responders Live’s Lt. Antoine Lane gives the police perspective

FIRST RESPONDERS LIVE: Lt. Antoine Lane (right) with host Josh Elliott in the ÒEpisode 104Ó of FIRST RESPONDERS LIVE airing Wednesday, July 10 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Ray Mickshaw/ FOX.
FIRST RESPONDERS LIVE: Lt. Antoine Lane (right) with host Josh Elliott in the ÒEpisode 104Ó of FIRST RESPONDERS LIVE airing Wednesday, July 10 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Ray Mickshaw/ FOX. /

First Responders Live expert Lt. Antoine Lane talks about providing his experience to Dick Wolf’s FOX series ahead of tonight’s season finale.

Tonight First Responders Live wraps up its thrilling first season, and one of the experts who has made Dick Wolf‘s reality TV series such an exciting ride is Lieutenant Antoine Lane.

Lt. Lane brings his experience as a law enforcement officer and public speaker to every episode of the FOX show, working with host Josh Elliott and a panel of other experts to explain and discuss all the action that viewers are seeing.

He took time out of his commentary duties to speak to One Chicago Center about what attracted him to the series, why the show is important, and the one thing he wishes everyone could learn from watching.

Learn more about Lt. Antoine Lane in our interview below, then tune in to First Responders Live‘s season finale tonight—live at 9 p.m ET on FOX!

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One Chicago Center: What interested you about being a part of First Responders Live?

Antoine Lane: It was the nature of the project. I loved the fact that we got to a point in this relationship between cops and community, where the public is very interested in some of the heroic efforts of first responders, and I thought, I want to be a part of that.

I’ve been a part of other efforts in the past, task force related, in an effort to lower crime, when we thought the best way to contribute as a police officer was only to put bad guys in jail. I’ve come to realize what’s more impactful is relationships and talking about the really great police work that goes on around the country.

First Responders Live gave me a chance to do that for the nation.

What was the process in venturing into TV? Was this entirely new for you or had you worked in the media before?

I’ve worked with one of the producers on the show [before]. I started speaking about 10-12 years ago and have a side business called Training Lanes, which teaches cops how to be cops better. I started around the country teaching cops, and I ended up running into one of the producers of First Responders Live. He remembered me from several years ago, and gave me a call to come out for an opportunity to be on this show.

What goes through your head when you’re reviewing someone else’s actions in the field, as someone who’s been where they are?

I’m excited about it! One of the things the producers constantly have to do is yell in my ear, “Whoa!” because I have so much that I want to talk about. I can understand the art and the science behind what the officers are doing.

One of the difficulties that I have when explaining the footage is knowing when to stop; there’s so much I want to say and explain. Any time they give me an opportunity to explain what’s going on in a police work-related situation, I take full advantage of it, but it’s really a lot of fundamentally sound police work that I’m just biting at the bit to share with the viewing public.

First Responders Live
Lt. Antoine Lane is an expert on FOX’s First Responders Live. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Beck Media. /

First Responders Live also shows you and the other experts working away when you’re not in front of the big screen. What do you talk about between moments?

We have a lot of fun. As a police officer, you can get caught in your own little bubble. It’s all about law enforcement and the response, and you almost forget you have your partners out there—the paramedics [and] the firefighters. And so a lot of times, in all honesty, I’ll ask them a question, like explain to me what certain terms in their field mean.

We also encourage each other, because it can be a daunting task to come out and really want to put forth a good product, but every now and then we’ll have some fun and jive with each other a little bit.

How much have you learned from being part of the show?

The thing about police work is we constantly have to teach younger officers about maintaining their composure and sticking to the training they have, and for whatever reason in nearly 30 years of police work, I didn’t realize that those lessons had to be an attribute carried on by the paramedics or firefighters too. They have to do the exact same thing.

They’re very tedious, rapidly evolving dynamic situations, but they have to make decisions on the fly, and being a part of this show has given me an opportunity to better appreciate my brother or sister who’s in the fire department or a paramedic, because for us, we’re just trying to stay alive and put handcuffs on people, and we have our own way about doing it.

I realized that a lot of the elements we teach in our training protocols are fundamental aspects of police work, the fire [department], and EMS [emergency medical services] alike. That was surprising to find out.

Between series like First Responders Live and Live PD, police work is getting far more reality TV exposure over the last few years. What are your thoughts on policizing being more publicized?

It’s something I’m very passionate about. When you look at police work, what we’ve done in the past and before the 80’s, we would hold our cards very close to our vest and it was almost a secret. Now that we’ve gotten to truly understand police work, we realize it’s about relationships and those relationships are about partnerships.

What we’ve got to do at this point is to be more willing to change the training protocols and share some of the training formats that we use on our officers with the public, so when officers behave a certain way in public, the viewing public or the person that is asking for police services have a better understanding of why the officer is behaving that way. That’s how you build a relationship, and the sooner we get to building our relationship, the better those collaborative partnerships will be.

I think shows like this, that talk more about the heroic efforts of our first responders or more about what police are trying to do behind the scenes, it’s not just about a big scary traffic stop, but it’s about following up with families and getting people reunited or giving them resources that they need. That’s the type of police work that excites me.

Maybe a 25-year-old rookie just wants to put a bad guy in jail, and they think that’s the best way we can clean up our district. But the more mature in the profession, you come to understand this is about providing a service to the people. When you talk to people, you talk about relationships and what we’ve done now is [have] a relationship between cops and community.

I think it’s imperative for cops to reach out their hand to help rebuild that relationship, and we can do that by having these types of dialogue. It’s not about putting people in jail. It’s about enhancing the quality of life for the neighborhoods that these officers are policing.

Is there anything in particular you’re hoping viewers take away as they watch?

It is very difficult to speak a language of the people and the extent of humanity. What do I mean by that? If you have a simple traffic stop, there must be a tactical approach you can use to conduct a successful traffic stop, but at the same time, you have to extend humanity. [Say] “Hello
ma’am, hello sir, how are you?,” wave to the kiddos in the back of the car, but your training in tactical protocol makes you ready for just about anything that happens.

So when these police officers make simple contact in what appears to be a routine arrest, there’s so much sound, fundamental police work that goes into helping to keep them safe, and the person they’re dealing with safe, even if they’re fighting with them. I really wish I could just bellow out to the nation how fundamentally correct a lot of this police work is and how difficult it is to pull off that confidence and tactical awareness, but still extending the humanity.

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What’s one thing that you feel more people should know about the police?

Perspective. I wish people could better appreciate the perspective. I understand that communication is a two-way street and I understand that for the most part [of] the last two decades police have been a little standoffish or aloof, but the perspective of trying to maintain a safe environment while doing your job. Making the job safe [comes] first, then execute the duties of your job.

I just wish people could better appreciate the perspective of a profession where we’re updated whenever one of our brothers or sisters are killed in the line of duty, anywhere in the country, doing something we did yesterday. It takes its toll on you, and what we have to do is do a better job at appreciating each other’s perspective. Both police perspective, as well as the community’s perspective. That’s the one thing I wish we could all do better.

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