As a county sheriff and creator of Utah’s first SWAT team, William “Dub” Lawrence was once an unlikely critic of law enforcement. That SWAT team, however, killed his son-in-law decades later in a controversial standoff that raised questions about the use of excessive force. Lawrence since has worked to uncover the truth about the incident and others nearby and shine a broader light on an increased militarization that he says has turned many police forces into small armies.
Lawrence is at the center of the award-winning documentary film Peace Officer, which takes a hard but balanced look at the issue of police and SWAT firepower and tactics – in a time when those tactics are under increased scrutiny nationwide. The Library and KCPT-TV screen the film (2015; NR) as part of the Indie Lens Pop-Up community cinema initiative. A discussion, featuring Karen Williams and Brian Goines Sr. Williams from the Office of Community Complaints in Kansas City, follows.