DER Documentary

Five Films on Police

Five Films on Police

A 2-DVD set of five films
by George C. Stoney
b&w, 152 mins, 1960-1966

Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
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These films are a view of police officers as instruments for social service for all rather than just law enforcement bringing down on criminals the punishment of the law. They were made for use during group discussions where the police could share their immediate experiences with one another and with the people from hospitals in their communities. Written material supplemented the films during these discussions, which encouraged the participants to cite their own experiences. Instead of just blaming the police and making them feel guilty, this dialog created some understanding.

The first four of these films were produced through the Louisiana Association for Mental Health in collaboration with its executive director, Dr. Loyd Rowland (1902-1981). The series was co-sponsored by International Association of Chiefs of Police, with support from the National Institute for Mental Health. The fifth film was made last with the New York Police Department.

George C. Stoney, producer of the projects, recalls, "I think they had a real effect on the medical professionals and the police. These group screenings brought them together and helped them recognize their common problems."

The same problems are facing communities now. Perhaps these films can inspire further dialog, as they did when they were originally released.

Booked for Safekeeping (1960, 32 min) launch preview watch a preview
Designed to help police officers understand how to respond to situations involving people with mental illnesses. Made with New Orleans Police Dept.

The Cry for Help (1962, 33 min) launch preview watch a preview
Teaches police officers how to interact with suicidal individuals. Made with Chicago Police Dept.

The Mask (1963, 33 min) launch preview watch a preview
A film designed to make police officers aware that alcohol can disguise or mask serious physical and mental illnesses. Made with the Cleveland Police Dept.

Under Pressure (1964, 32 min) launch preview watch a preview
Targeted toward police officers, this film discusses personal and emotional problems related to the job. Made with Cleveland Police Dept.

The Man in the Middle (1966, 22 min) launch preview watch a preview
Shows police how they can work more sensitively with the communities they serve. Made with New York City Police Dept.

Related Resources
Discussion Guides (PDF) (George C. Stoney Papers #4970, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).

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Related Films
Pittsburgh Police Series

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Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts