By Gregory Crofton
The U.S. Drug War took a hard, nasty turn when President Richard Nixon approved “No-Knock” warrants that allow unannounced police raids on private homes.
“PEACE OFFICER” shows how the use of this type of raid has dramatically increased over the years, and how police gear, in the wake of the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, has become increasingly militarized.
Standoffs between citizens and police officers, such as the one that took place in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, after the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, plainly illustrated how “peace officers” have become something else entirely.
“PEACE OFFICER” took home the Grand Jury Award for best Documentary Feature at SXSW in 2015. Its central character is William “Dub” Lawrence, a former sheriff from Utah, who lost a son-in-law during a botched SWAT raid, one that developed out of a domestic violence call.
Lawrence is a hard-boiled, no-nonsense character. When he was still active in law enforcement, his department formed the very first SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team. Today — if he’s not clearing clogged sewage lines or flying the plane he designed and built — he’s investigating old criminal cases that weren’t done right the first time.
“PEACE OFFICER,” directed by Brad Barber and Scott Christopherson, aired on Independent Lens in 2016. Watch this film because it entertains as it enlightens.
It exposes how peace officers across the country have been transformed, over decades, and with encouragement from the law and backing from the federal government, into paramilitary operations that can legally violate the Constitutional rights of citizens.