Peace Officer, a very timely and important doc directed by Brad Barber and Scott Christopherson, sheds light on the militarization of police forces in America. Dub Lawrence, a former Utah sheriff who had founded the state's first SWAT team back in 1975, retired when that very same SWAT team killed his son-in-law during a stand-off. He shows you plenty of evidence of how the police had over-stepped their boundaries by using excessive force in that particular incident as well as many others which signal that there's a disturbing pattern. Co-director Brad Barber and Scott Christopherson do an impeccable job of finding just the right balance between providing you with insight, making you feel moved/enraged while keeping the film suspenseful. Part of what makes the doc so entertaining is its subject, Dub Lawrence, who comes across as articulate, brave, witty, honest and charismatic. He's learned how to take a tragedy and turn it into a learning experience without resorting to sugar-coating anything. Some parts of the doc, i.e. when he shows the bullet trajectories during the SWAT stand-off with his son-in-law, will make you feel deeply moved and, rightfully, angry---there are, after all, healthy forms of anger as long as it's reasonable and non-violent. His argument that excessive police force instead of peaceful negotiation merely worsens the situation and leads to violence. Interestingly, he also discusses the roots of excessive police force, i.e. the war on drugs, thereby giving the doc some background and perspective. Neither Dub Lawrence nor the directors demonize the police; they merely raise awareness of the systemic problem of excessive police force. There is hope, unless you believe in the book The End of America by Naomi Wolf who outlines a step-by-step process of how would-be dictators shut down democracy to ultimately subvert the rule of law: one of those steps just so happens to be the government's use of a paramilitary force against its people. At a running time of 1 hour and 45 minutes, Peace Officer is spellbinding, suspenseful and provocative. It's one of the most powerful films since The Thin Blue Line. Submarine Deluxe and Gravitas Ventures open it at IFC Center.