The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Criminal justice department hosts documentary screening featuring local police officers

Criminal justice department hosts documentary screening featuring local police officers - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Former San Antonio Police Department officer Ernie Stevens writes a police report on the hood of a squad vehicle in the film "Ernie and Joe: Crisis Cops." The documentary follows two SAPD officers, Ernie Stevens and Joe Smarro, as they respond to mental health calls around the city. Photo courtesy of E&J The Film

Texas A&M University-San Antonio’s criminology and criminal justice program is hosting a documentary screening of two local police officers at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 16 in the auditorium. 

The event will start with a Q&A session with Ernest “Ernie” Stevens, one of the police officers in “Ernie and Joe: Crisis Cops,” to allow students to ask questions about the film and the two officers’ work. After the Q&A session, there will be a screening of the film.

Callie Shaw, a lecturer for the program, said she believes events like this will help students gain new opportunities in their program by speaking with people such as Stevens.

“We are going to have every semester, starting last semester, a panel with criminal justice professionals that discuss opportunities within their field,” Shaw said. “It’s not just in our formal class that students can gain access to these possible avenues, it’s also through attending these panel discussions, reaching out to us and networking.”

The film follows Stevens and Joe Smarro, who are trying to increase mental health awareness within the San Antonio Police Department. The audience follows them as they respond to 911 calls that should be handled by giving mental support from responding officers rather than putting the person behind bars.

As part of SAPD’s mental health unit, they hope to change how the police force responds to mental health calls and to create a stronger police-community relationship. Their goal is for the police department to be better prepared to answer non-violent calls through proper training and guidance. 

The 95-minute film has free streaming access for any law enforcement agency in the U.S. to spread the word on the importance of the mental well-being of people in communities. 

There will be door prizes and raffles at the event. Lunch will also be provided outside of the auditorium in the courtyard.

For more information about this event, visit JagSync.

For more information about the documentary and the two officers, visit their website here.

About the Author

Irma Saenz
Multimedia Editor
I’m Irma Saenz and I am a communications major from Texas A&M University-San Antonio. Photojournalism, Television, Film, Social Media and News are just some of things I like to work on. I don’t have a preference, so dipping my toes where I can helps me gain experience.

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