R (graphic images) | Amazon | 1 hr 49 min
Released in March of 2015
SUMMARY: What if you witnessed the SWAT team that you established as sheriff kill your son-in-law? Peace Officer follows former Utah sheriff William “Dub” Lawrence using his 45 years as a police officer to privately investigate the killing of his son-in-law, Brian Wood. Wood was killed in 2008 after a muddled standoff with police.
Weaved throughout the documentary is a short history of S.W.A.T teams that were established in the 1970s in response to the Watts riots and the aggressive police tactics deployed (no-knock warrants, etc.) during the War on Drugs in the 70s and ’80s in addition to the militarization of police department equipment through the 1033 program.
The film is most certainly not anti-police and if anything leans towards blaming a system that perpetuates violence and teaches that policing the public is a military operation and not a peacekeeping operation. (read Black and Blue by Matthew Horace for more).
Peace Officer excels in giving those in law enforcement, and those that have been on the wrong end of law enforcement, a voice. It toes the line of nuance well. All of the family members of loved ones killed by a police officer are sympathetic to the job that police officers do. And yet, they ask, does it have to be this way?
KEY QUOTES: “Militarizing the police undermines public confidence in law enforcement. It makes people fear the police and it makes people not trust the police when the police think of communities that they are supposed to serve as the enemy. Add when you have a situation in which the people fear or don’t trust the police that undermines public safety. We don’t want people to think that the police are an occupying force in their neighborhoods.”
NOTE: At the time of publishing (September of 2022) Peace Officer is available to watch for free (with ads) on a variety of platforms including Amazon, Vudo, Tubi, and several others.
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