Brad Barber & Scott Christopherson's Peace Officer is a intricate and monumental documentary that focuses on the increasing militarization of American police. Told through story of Dub Lawrence, a former sheriff in Utah who established the states' first SWAT team only to see that same unit kill his own son-in-law, Peace Officer is a harrowing journey into the current climate of the police state in which we live, capturing how unskilled and untactical the current police force has become, fueled more by aggression & militarization than their desire to serve and protect as they are being increasingly trained with policies and tactics that effectively place the bulls-eye directly on citizens. Focusing not only on his own son-in-law's controversial death but also a few other police standoffs in the area, Peace Officer follows Dub Lawrence as he meticulously examines the crime scenes of these incidents, discovering new evidence that convincingly captures the lack of transparency in these investigations where police and citizens are not viewed as equals in law. While watching Peace Officer it becomes quite disconcerting just how much a retired police officer is able to uncover in mere hours at a crime scene, as the film makes it pretty clear that something is very wrong with the current state of police, whether it be due to covering up evidence or straight up negligence by crime-scene investigators. What makes Peace Officer work so well for me though is how fair the whole film is at breaking down the increasing militarization of America's police force, interviewing a host of police officers, sheriffs, and victims of such forceful police tactics in a way that is very refreshing for a documentary. Peace Officer doesn't point fingers at individuals but the system and policies, many due to the war on drugs, which have escalated things way out of control. It makes the very important distinction between blaming the policies of the system and the individual cops, making it clear that it simply isn't fair to place much blame on the individual police for doing their job due to policies that put them in volatile and unnecessary situations. That being said, the film never holds back from capturing the need for more transparency during fatal police standoffs, with Peace Officer painting a pretty convincing portrait that force has supplanted real training when it comes to this type of police work. Providing a detailed study of the evolution of police tactics in a way that captures just how the problem has escalated, Brad Barber & Scott Christopherson's Peace Officer is an important and necessary documentary that raises a lot of fascinating questions about the current state of Police in America.
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