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||IMDB Rating: 7.7/10 from N/A votes
||Release: 01 Apr 2015 /
||Genre: Documentary, News
||Director: Brad Barber,
||Stars: William 'Dub' Lawrence
||Synopsis: Peace Officer is a documentary about the increasingly militarized state of American police as told through the story of 'Dub' Lawrence, a former sheriff who established and trained his ...
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Similar somewhat to The Thin Blue Line in the way it investigates a
broken justice system with the intention of raising awareness about the
issues talked about, PEACE OFFICER follows a Utah local named William
'Dub' Lawrence, who had served as sheriff in the 1970's. During his
time as sheriff the concept of SWAT teams was created, and in 1975 Dub
thought that his county could use such a unit for hostile and violent
30 years later, the SWAT team he created was responsible for the
unwarranted shooting of his son-in-law.
Having worked as a police officer himself, while also being a very
knowledgeable investigator, Dub has been obsessed with the case over a
four year period, putting together a truly massive amount of
information and evidence. Dub freely admits that it is a bit of an
obsession, but hell, who could blame him? His friendly and caring
nature gives the film a much needed heart, as he meets other families
in the area who have suffered similar family tragedies. Without Dub and
his giant grin and personality, this film could have felt like a
sterile, depressing, news-style documentary. What we get however is
extensive investigation into each of the crime scenes, usually coupled
with stories from family members about the incident. Most of the film
is narrated excellently by Dub.
Being a former law-man himself, these events worry Dub for more reasons
than one. His son-in-law was fatally shot while posing no risk to
anyone but himself. The other families Dub talks to have all report
slightly different experiences, but they all involve the police and
their heavy handed methods, eroding any trust these people may have had
in law enforcement.
These heavy handed methods are scrutinised in the film, such as the
excessive amount of military equipment now made available for small
police departments, or the fact that SWAT teams are now used to execute
simple search warrants, rather than their original intended function.
In some cases, these SWAT teams park their cars around the corner or
down the street, so the person living in the house they intend to
breach has no idea the police have arrived. This can of course result
in chaos, not to mention psychological trauma. How are these people
supposed to know that it is the police who has broken into their house
without warning?? This last sentiment really rings true when watching a
leaked 'helmet cam' video of a SWAT team breaching a house. The
ruthlessness of their actions is chilling.
This doco also makes use of multiple police videos, and effectively
shows how trigger-happy officers can sometimes be, acting and dressing
as if they are an invading force against the people, who have seemingly
become the enemy. This is the core theme I took from the film
(especially considering the title), as the notion that a police
officer's duty is to 'protect and serve' is becoming more absurd and
untruthful as time goes by. This contrasts greatly against Dub's time
as sheriff, who reminisces early in the film on an old news article
reporting that Dub had accidentally parked in a no parking spot, and
upon being told about it, he wrote himself a ticket. It is a corny
little story but it summarises the type of person Dub is, and more
importantly the type of police officer he was. He was someone who could
be trusted to protect and serve.
The film must also be given credit for interviewing police officers as
well as the families affected. But given how well the facts of the film
are presented, I found it hard to not laugh at their ignorance. Not one
of them could see past their rose-tinted glasses. Each one effectively
says the same thing in a different way: "there is nothing wrong with
training provided and we aren't worried about the causalities that your
film is focusing on". This unfortunately isn't surprising, as they are
in a position of power. It isn't in their best interest to acknowledge
that yes, their methods are broken and need to be closely examined;
that yes, innocent people are being killed, injured, imprisoned or
scared stupid every day. Some of the statistics presented are
For example, from 2010-2014, officer-involved shootings in Utah
accounted for more deaths than drug and gang violence combined. If that
doesn't make you wary then you need to look around and open your eyes a
little. I may not be a US citizen, but the behaviour and attitudes of
their police forces has already trickled down to Australia, followed by
the dark, dark blue, almost black, menacing uniforms. Never in
Australia have the police seemed like such an enemy to the people, at
least in my neck of the woods.
"I don't think mankind is equipped to deal with injustice forever"
William 'Dub' Lawrence
Tags for Peace Officer Full Movie
William 'Dub' Lawrence
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