The thought that an eccentric billionaire with a heart of gold could "fix" law enforcement using money and technology is idealistic, uplifting, and actually not as far off as you might think. Is Gideon Reeves on APB a real person? The FOX series, which stars Justin Kirk from Weeds and Angels in America, is about an original character who buys a police precinct, but he does have roots in recent history.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the series is partially based on a New York Times story by David Amsden titled "Who Runs the Streets of New Orleans?" It tells the true story of Sidney Torres, who privatized police in the Big Easy using an app that essentially crowdsources crime fighting and therefore lowers response times — similar to what happens in APB. Torres previously founded a sanitation company that cleaned up New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
After Torres made remarks about crime in the French Quarter through attack ads against the current politicians that claimed the city was under siege by criminals, the mayor basically dared him to "put his money where his mouth is" — and that's exactly what happened. According to the piece, Torres sees himself as Bruce Wayne/Batman, so it's not surprising that his story was ultimately made into fiction. What the former "Trashanova" is doing is essentially vigilantism, just supported by the existing law enforcement and without masks or capes.
‘‘Look," Torres said in the NYT piece, "it’s cool that the city supplied me with cops who can arrest people and use their guns. But I pay their salaries, I own the app and the vehicles. They’ve got two months to make this work, or I’ll take it away.’’
On the FOX series, Reeves is also dealing with the death of his best friend, which he witnessed — and which is also an unsolved mystery. That's not related to Torres and the show's inspiration. It's just great television. Instead of engaging in a vehement relationship with the mayor that turned into a (I assume) beautiful partnership like Torres, the fictional Reeves is drawn to this world for more personal reasons. Still, it's interesting that APB is based on something that really happened, and could continue to happen in other parts of the nation and world.