What is a Peace Officer? (Cops, Peace, & CJReform)

I dare you to watch this.

Tezi and I watched yet another powerful and unforgettable documentary over the past couple days.  I want to share it here with you.

Peace Officer is a film about the militarization of police departments/tactics and/or the need for heightened police action/equipment to keep officers (and the community) safe.  It depends on how you look at it.  This documentary, though perhaps not completely objective, does a good job letting both sides of the discussion voice their opinions.  It’s a very well crafted story told through intermingled investigations into real life cases of S.W.A.T. contacts with the community, embellished with expert and first-person testimonies and opinions.  The “star” of the film, William “Dub” Lawrence, is a highly respected, retired veteran of the police force himself who has decades of CSI experience.  It’s his dynamic expertise and passion that fuels the whole thing.

I encourage you to take some time to watch the entire documentary with friends and family.  Please discuss among yourselves and share with others.


Note on documentaries:  Tezi and I have learned a lot lately from watching a variety of documentaries.  It’s been fascinating to see these often indepth looks at subject matter that normally isn’t on the front pages, or making headlines.  Most of the documentaries have been very well produced as well.  I feel as if we’re living in an era right now inundated with superb intellectual content both through these films and documentaries as well as through the podcast medium.  If you make the time to ingest their content you’ll feel as if you’re enrolled in school, getting an education with each session, episode, or film segment.

None of these, of course, can do justice to the complex and multifarious topics they touch on, and each one lacks the depth usually only associated with books (or long-form serialized podcasts), but they present such a well constructed snap-shot of the issue, that one can at least challenge their own preconceived notions, gaining some awareness, even in spite of oneself.  The anecdotal stories therein must be dealt with.  They can’t all just be brushed aside.  It’s documentaries such as these that confront our own knowledge and ask us to take a second look at reality.  How close to the truth we are willing to allow ourselves is a decision each one of us has to make with each viewing.

Here’s a brief list of some of the superb documentaries we’ve seen, enjoyed, and learned from lately:


Tezi and I read Michael Morton’s autobiographical account of his wrongful conviction story. Though this film doesn’t quite the it all justice, it’s well worth seeing if you’re not going to read the book.

Here’s a shocking look at Shaken Baby Syndrome criminal prosecutions and how they play into wrongful convictions. It’s a must see.

If you were only going to watch a single documentary from this list, watch 13th.

One of the most powerful and important documentaries I’ve ever seen. Please watch this with your friends and family.

I’ve learned all that I could have ever imagined about O.J. Simpson… his life as a sports phenom, American hero, turned murderer and acquitted pariah… and what followed. Super interesting. Just won an Oscar.

Nick Yarris’ amazing and truly incredible story of reckless living to wrongfully convicted and now exonerated victim of the criminal justice system. Make time for it.


172 thoughts on “What is a Peace Officer? (Cops, Peace, & CJReform)

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