America is a country where the individual can make a difference. It is a place where one human being challenges the system and changes it by his efforts. What happens when that change takes on a life of its own and becomes an unruly monster that no individual can manage? This question lies at the heart of the recent documentary, Peace Officer.
William “Dub” Lawrence investigates Mathew Stewart home – still from “Peace Officer”
William “Dub” Lawrence is responsible for the creation of the first SWAT team in Utah. His work was intended to make policing safer for everyone involved. But, when a member of his family finds himself engaged with Utah SWAT, everything goes wrong. Dub takes it upon himself to investigate the incident and it opens the door to a number of other cases with similar results. Peace Officer follows him on this quest.
We sat down with filmmakers Brad Barber and Scott Christopherson to analyze this and other related issues the film illustrates. We also invited the film editor, Renny McCauley, John Mutz, a retired LA Station Commander, Barbara Attard of Accountability Associates, the founder of a citizen oversight organization, and Britta Sjogren, Director of the School of Cinema at SFSU to examine and debate the impact of militarization in our national police forces.
Scott Christopherson and Renny McCauley are both distinguished graduates of the MFA in Cinema program at SFSU.
DocFilm Forums are ongoing dialogues that investigate the urgent issues of our time by bringing together experts in the field of Documentary, alongside Social Justice Leaders, NGO Directors, Writers and Policy Makers. Forums are held in front of a live audience and taped for broadcast and sharing at later dates.