Available to stream: November 30, 2022 12:00 am - December 7, 2022 11:59 pm ET

Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops Screening

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The Emmy award-winning HBO documentary ERNIE & JOE: CRISIS COPS is an intimate portrait of two Texas police officers who are helping change the way police respond to mental health calls. The film takes audiences on a personal journey, weaving together these two officers’ experiences during their daily encounters with people in crisis. These two officers are not your everyday cops. They are part of the San Antonio Police Department’s Mental Health Unit, which has become a model for mental health crisis response across the country.

Ernie Stevens and Joe Smarro Bios

Ernest (Ernie) Stevens currently serves as the Deputy Division Director of Law Enforcement for the Council of State Governments Justice Center. Prior, he was a police officer for 28 years, serving 26 years with the San Antonio Police Department where he was a founding member of the Mental Health Unit. Because of this groundbreaking work, he is one of the main subjects in the Emmy Award-winning HBO Documentary, Ernie and Joe: Crisis Cops. He was also featured in the NBC documentary, A Different Kind of Force, and on ABC Nightline. Ernie is the author of Mental Health and De-escalation: A Guide for Law Enforcement Professionals, a #1 best-selling book on Amazon. A graduate of Wayland Baptist University with a B.S. in Criminal Justice, Ernie continues to support law enforcement agencies around the nation by providing technical assistance and best-practice approaches to mental health crisis response.

Joe Smarro is a US Marine Corps decorated combat veteran. He joined SAPD in 2005, becoming one of the original members of the Mental Health Unit. Smarro is featured in the TEDx talk “I See You.” He is the founder and CEO of SolutionPoint+, a training and consulting firm that cultivates mental wellness to maximize human capital and promote safety within organizations.

For more information, please visit: www.ernieandjoethefilm.com

HBO Makes Award-Winning Doc ‘Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops’ Available Free Online For Mental Health Awareness Month



HBO sets TV premiere for Jenifer McShane’s “Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops”



HBO Acquires SXSW Mental Health Docu ‘Ernie & Joe’



“Impressively intimate” … “Riveting”

“One of the Best movies of the 2019 SXSW Film Festival”



“Captivating” … “10 out of 10 stars”



“a shockingly emotional and human look at a new kind of police force”

“a beautiful documentary”



“a quiet stunner”



“Critics pick – 10 best films of SXSW 2019”


Help is available 24/7 nationwide. If you are in crisis or know someone who is, reach out immediately to the following for help:


988 provides 24/7, free and confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress works. The Lifeline helps thousands of people overcome crisis situations every day.


Crisis Text Line is here for any crisis. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds, all from their secure online platform.

US & CANADA: Text HOME to 74174

UK: Text HOME to 85258

Ireland: Text HOME to 50808

Submit an inquiry to Jennifer Peacock

(Community Engagement Coordinator, Pre-Arrest Diversion, Kane County State’s Attorney Office)