A lot of the conversation towards police in media today leans towards the negative. The stories about corrupt cops or cops that have made mistakes simply make for juicier, eye-catching headlines. However, what about the stories that don’t get told? The police officers that put their lives on the line every day. The cops that are shot in the line of duty, protecting others? We think that side of the story needs to get more attention. So, here are the top 5 documentaries we could find showcasing what it’s really like to be a police officer.
“A police officer is killed every 53 hours in the line of duty in the United States.” That’s one of the opening lines in the trailer for Fallen Project This documentary looks to humanize the line-of-duty police deaths across the United States and showcases how those deaths impact their loved ones and their communities.
Crime & Punishment
This documentary shows a different story: police officers standing up against their law enforcement agency. In 2010, the NYPD announced that they were officially banning quotas. However, in 2015, a group of 12 minority NYPD officers came together to allege that the quotas were still very much part of the system.
Flint is a documentary that focuses on a town of 100,000 people and only 98 officers. The town has high rates of poverty and crime, making it particularly difficult for the officers that work the streets. This balanced documentary shows both sides of the story; the marginalized people of a community that feel hatred towards the very people who protect them and the fear those officers have in trying to do their jobs.
This documentary focuses on the use of deadly force by police officers, the police officers that have been killed on-duty, and how the media portrays police interactions. Bleeding Blue looks to explore the untold stories the media chooses not to discuss, of cops being attacked and hurt, while they’re doing their jobs.
Through the Blue Lens
This Canadian documentary followed police interactions within the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, British Columbia. This small community is one of the poorest and drug-trafficked areas in the country. The documentary follows and shows how police officers interact with the drug-addicted individuals of the street. Through a Blue Lens won several awards for showing the empathy most police officers develop towards the addicts they interact with regularly.
Bonus Documentary: Tears for April: Through the Blue Lens
This documentary was a follow up to the initial “Through the Blue Lens” documentary, 10 years later. Retired police officer Al Arsenault and his interactions with drug addict and prostitute April Reoch. April came from a small town in northern BC and quickly ended up addicted and selling her body for money. The documentary followed April for many years and showcased her spiral into addiction, her attempts to recovery, and her interactions with the police.
Al Arsenault took a picture of April when she first came to the downtown eastside when she was just 17, and he warned her to leave. She didn’t listen and six months later he ran into her again, already she was hooked on drugs. We recommend you watch this documentary to the end for a shocking ending.