an Oakland police patrol car

Bay Area filmmaker Peter Nicks’ new documentary “The Force” takes a close look at the Oakland Police Department during a tumultuous period marked by a sexual exploitation scandal, serial resignations, and ongoing federal scrutiny. The filmmakers embedded with the agency for two years, and sat in on trainings and witnessed internal debates on the use force by officers. We discuss what the film reveals about the culture and inner workings of the department, and how OPD is working to rebuild the public’s trust.

Peter Nicks’ Documentary ‘The Force’ Looks Deep Inside the Oakland Police Department 12 September,2017Susan Britton

Peter Nicks, documentary filmmaker, "The Force"
Leronne Armstrong, deputy chief, Oakland Police Department
Ben McBride, pastor; co-director, PICO California
Alex Emslie, reporter, KQED news

  • Robert Thomas

    I think that that should be

    “Peter Nicks’s Documentary ‘The Force’ Looks Deep Inside the Oakland Police Department”

    • Brett Klein

      . . . Looks Deeply Inside . . . .?

  • chemkeeder

    I had the high honor of serving with OPD 1988-1996. At the time I chose OPD, it was famous for the best training and policies in the country, and it was led by Chief George T. Hart, famous for his professionalism, integrity and honor.

    Contrary to what many who have never served in any police department assert to be true, officers come to police departments to serve, especially in the poorest communities needing protection the most. I sat in on many oral interview boards, and that is what young recruits say. We all meant it.

    OPD has been diminished by a parade of clownish and cowardly politicians and city managers [remember, to pick one, the anti-police Berkeley radical Jean Quan, who now wants to run marijuana dispensaries in SF?], an over-reaching federal judge [Henderson] who once led the ACLU, and an idiot monitor [Warshow] who fancies himself a police practices expert – as if Rochester NY and Oaktown were comparable. All he knows is how to bill for MILLIONS in idiotic services that protect no resident of the City. The upshot is that OPD officers are less aggressive, and the people they want to serve are less protected.

    There is no excuse for sex that a few officers had with an underage female, but please recall that several officers in many other agencies in the Bay Area did likewise. Their failure was one of character, not OPD’s. For that matter. LAPD had a major scandal along these lines in the 1970’s, and has had another recent one as well. Judges, sports teams, television station executives, real estate sales agents, professional writers, late night tv hosts and others have done likewise.

    I can say that in 8 years of night time patrols I never – not even once – used or saw any officer use excess force or make a bad stop. I can also say that several times I had the legal and moral right to shoot, but risked my life by giving the a#$hole a fourth or fifth chance to give up instead. That happens every minute, but there are no stats kept for times officers declined to use lethal force at the risk of their own lives to spare the life of the a#$hole in question.

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