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Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops


ERNIE & JOE: CRISIS COPS follows two police officers with the San Antonio Texas Police Department who are diverting people away from jail and into mental health treatment, one 911 call at a time.


  • Variety
    The 11 Best Movies of the 2019 SXSW Film Festival
    Peter Debruge, Joe Leydon, Dennis Harvey
  • Hollywood reporter
    'Ernie & Joe': Film Review | SXSW 2019
    Sheri Linden
  • Los Angeles Times
    Review: These ‘Cops’ hug first, ask questions later
    Kevin Crust
  • Filmmaker Magazine
    Conflict Resolution: Jennifer McShane on Her HBO Doc about Policing and Mental Health, Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops
    Lauren Wissot
  • Pete Early
    Superb Documentary Shows Us How Police Officers Can Defuse A Mental Health Crisis: Available Now In Your Community
    Pete Early
    "Everyone needs to pay the f**k attention to this deeply felt and expertly rendered documentary about two members of the San Antonio Police Department's Mental Health Unit, who are changing how police see their own jobs with their embrace of making empathy and the individual the priority over force and violence."
    Official statement from the SXSW Jury for Empathy in Craft Award
    "Jenifer McShane’s powerful and artistic storytelling in Ernie & Joe is like no other that has come before it. The film is described as a different kind of 911 call. Through Jenifer’s lens, not only is every 911 call different, the world is different. We see the possibility of police and communities working together to create a safer and more humane reality for all involved parties. This film is a must see for everyone, everywhere who cares about improving human dignity in policing. The characters Ernie and Joe, who Jenifer brings to life on the screen, poetically show us that this film is about and for all of us.”
    Rebecca Neusteter, Former Policing Program Director
    “Ernie & Joe really is a "must-see.” While it is about an innovative and much-needed shift in law enforcement's response to those with mental health challenges, at its core it is about being human and connecting at the level of our shared humanity. At the Osborne Center for Justice Across Generations, we work alongside and advocate on behalf of children who have witnessed their parent's arrest, children whose parents are incarcerated, and people who have been arrested and incarcerated. We also work with law enforcement and corrections staff. What strikes us in our work with each of these communities is a shared experience of trauma and fear, and feeling judged and misunderstood. Ernie & Joe pulls back the curtain on the false "us" and "them" narrative to reveal what is possible when we have compassion for one another and for self. Compassion — combined with solid training and high-level skills for de-escalating crises and attending to secondary trauma—is what Ernie and Joe exemplify. This film provides us with a way to move forward, improving police-community relationships, and increasing public safety and quality of life for us all.”
    Tanya Krupat, Director
  • “ERNIE & JOE demonstrates that being open to caring and bringing down barriers can only help the large portion of the population struggling with mental illness every day.”
    Retired 30-yr. NYPD Detective
  • “Amazing movie! Thank you for what you all do. This is what we need throughout this country: helping others.”
    Mental Health Counselor
  • “This is what the world needs more of. Compassionate people who listen and are willing to help others. This film made me smile and gives me hope that our law enforcement, hospitals, and mental health facilities can implement change and successfully collaborate with one another.”
    Registered Nurse
  • “It really is a remarkable film—beautifully shot and edited, and a wonderful story of what good, humane policing looks like.”
    Kevin Morison, Chief Program Officer, Police Executive Research Forum
  • "The trust-building dialogue that the officers used was very effective. This is truly the way to go for police departments across the nation, especially now with the focus on police violence against people with mental illness. We need more Ernie and Joes!!"
    Mental Healthcare Advocate
  • "The documentary humanizes the badge while shining a light on an often taboo subject. They show us that there is another way to respond to mental health crises that don't utilize enforcement and that hope can be found in the most desperate of circumstances."
    Elisa Howell, Sergeant Denton Police Department
  • "Ernie and Joe shows us that law enforcement can make meaningful changes to past practices to better assist people who are in a brain health crisis or have a chronic brain health condition with compassion. This is a powerful film that should be part of any law enforcement agencies' CIT training program for years to come."
    Officer Todd Gyure, Mental Health Liaison Garland PD
  • “The film clearly demonstrates what good policing in this country could look like. Both Joe and Ernie are excellent examples of the officers our communities want and it is my hope that others can learn by their example. The movie, along with extensive training, should be a requirement for all officers.”
    Cameron McEllhiney, Director of Training and Education (NACOLE)
  • “I can't think of a better film to help spark debate about the promises and limitations of police training as a solution to the problem of police violence.”
    Professor Ben Snyder, Williams College

Festival Participation

  • SXSW Film Festival - 2019
    Special Jury Recognition for Empathy in Craft
  • Independent Film Festival Boston - 2019
    Grand Jury Winner
  • San Antonio Film Festival - 2019
    Audience Choice Award
  • Port Townsend Film Festival - 2019
    Jury Award Best Documentary Feature
  • Santa Fe Independent Film Festival - 2019
    Best Documentary Feature
  • Woods Hole Film Festival - 2019
    Audience Choice Award Runner-Up
  • Aspen Mountain Film Festival - 2019
    Youth Jury Award
  • Heartland International Film Festival - 2019
  • Nashville Film Festival - 2019
  • AFI Docs - 2019
  • Traverse City Film Festival - 2019
    Selected by Michael Moore as Favorite Documentary for Family & Friends Screening
  • Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival - 2019
  • Cork Ireland Film Festival - 2019
  • International Public Health Film Competition - 2020
    Honorable Mention

Distribution Company

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