HBO Documentary Films is pleased to announce the broadcast premiere of ERNIE & JOE: CRISIS COPS on Tuesday, November 19th. The film will also be in select theaters November 15th.

Winner of the Special Jury Award for Empathy in Craft at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival, director Jenifer McShane follows two members of the San Antonio Police Department’s 10-person Mental Health Unit who are helping to change the way police respond to mental health calls. Through intimate access, McShane introduces us to officers trying and succeeding in doing it right.

The two cops, Ernie and Joe, head a special team that looks to treat mental health calls as opposed to the traditional policing tactics. Both drawing on their own experiences have learned that the old ways of policing weren’t working. The issues they face as a police department are the issues every community and police department in the country is facing.

“Impressively intimate”

“One of the Best Films of SXSW 2019”

“Should Change the Conversation on Modern Police Work”

“a quiet stunner”

“10 out of 10 STARS”

Jenifer McShane’s (Mothers of Bedford) documentary ERNIE & JOE: CRISIS COPS follows San Antonio, Texas police officers Ernie Stevens and Joe Smarro, who are diverting people from jail and into mental health treatment.

Part of the San Antonio Police Department’s ten-person mental health unit, Ernie Stevens and Joe Smarro are putting compassionate policing practices into action. Ernie & Joe chronicles their daily encounters with people in crisis, showing how their innovative approach to policing – which takes mental health into account – is having a dramatic effect on the way police respond to these challenges.

ERNIE & JOE: CRISIS COPS was directed and produced by Jenifer McShane; executive produced by Andrea Meditch; cinematographer, E.J. Enriquez; editor, Toby Shimin.

About Jenifer McShane
ERNIE & JOE: CRISIS COPS is Jenifer’s third feature documentary (SXSW 2019). She spent years visiting the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility to make her last documentary, MOTHERS OF BEDFORD (Hot Docs Film Festival, 2011), which reveals the impact of incarceration on incarcerated mothers and their children. Winner of the 2013 Director’s Award at the Social Justice Film Festival, selected by the U.S. Department’s American Film Showcase to tour internationally, it was broadcast on PBS stations nationwide as part of the America ReFramed documentary series. Jenifer’s first film, A LEAP OF FAITH (Sundance Film Festival, 1996), which follows a group of parents in Belfast, Northern Ireland as they open an integrated school for Catholic and Protestant children was broadcast on PBS, and screened broadly on European television.