Peace Officer

Peace Officer

  • BY Brad Barber & Scott Christopherson | IN Crime
    Premiered May 9, 2016

About the Film

William “Dub” Lawrence was a former sheriff who established and trained one of Utah's first SWAT teams, only to watch in horror as that same unit killed his son-in-law in a controversial standoff years later. In Peace Officer, Dub, driven by an obsessive sense of mission, uses his investigative skills to uncover the truth about that incident and other officer-involved shootings in his community, while tackling larger questions about the changing face of police investigations nationwide. MORE

Dub's commitment to turn around the systemic failings he saw as a young officer led to a successful bid to become Sheriff of Davis County, Utah, in 1974. Now retired from public service, Dub spends his free time as a private investigator, especially focused on the shooting death of his son-in-law Brian Wood. His resourceful instincts soon uncover tragic mistakes made by the SWAT teams who confronted Wood, igniting a long-term obsession with bringing to light the truth behind officer-involved shootings and SWAT team raids. Many of Dub’s investigations stem from confrontations sparked by aggressive "no-knock" search warrant laws now typical across America.

The cases Dub investigates are contextualized within the growing frequency of SWAT raids and immunity laws established to prosecute the War on Drugs. Officers in cities and small towns are routinely armed with military surplus weapons and equipment, backed by federal incentives to use what they are given. These and other factors have led to a 15,000% increase in SWAT team raids in the United States since the late 1970s.

Peace Officer follows Dub as he picks apart these cases with the dogged zeal of a rule-of-law TV detective, combined with the still-lingering grief of a victim.  


The Filmmakers

Scott Christopherson worked as an undergraduate for Harvard’s Ross McElwee on the film In Paraguay (2008). McAlwee then helped guide Christopherson’s first film Only the Pizza Man Knows, which was broadcast internationally on satellite cable network BYUtv. Christopherson subsequently worked as the Documentary Arts director/instructor for Spy Hop Productions and the Sundance Institute’s youth documentary workshops. Films made by his students went on to win multiple awards locally and internationally. While attending graduate school in San Francisco, Christopherson shot, directed, and edited over 20 short films for Project Runway’s season six website. He received his MFA in documentary cinema from San Francisco State University and also earned an MA degree in Anthropology from UW-Madison. He was an assistant professor of documentary film at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, prior to relocating back to Provo, where he teaches non-fiction film at Brigham Young University.

Brad Barber was named to Variety's “10 Documakers to Watch” list in 2015; Peace Officer is his feature directing debut. In 2009, Barber was nominated for an Emmy for his work as an editor on the HBO documentary Resolved, for which he also served as an associate producer and cinematographer, and has won multiple regional Emmys for his KBYU documentary series Beehive Stories. Barber received an MFA in Cinema-Television Production at USC, and then worked in Los Angeles as an editor, cinematographer, and director/ producer of documentary film and television with credits on Showtime, ESPN, Discovery Channel, and many others. His shorts and feature film work have been shown at film festivals and art museums around the world. Barber, who lives in Provo, Utah, currently works as an independent filmmaker and professor. LESS

Film Credits

Directed by
Scott Christopherson
Brad Barber

Produced by
Scott Christopherson
Brad Barber
Dave Lawrence

Executive Producers
Sterling Van Wagenen
Roger Fields
Marcy Garriott
Clark Lyda
Jesse Lyda
Julian Acosta
Jared Harris
Cole Webley

Renny McCauley

Directors of Photography
Brad Barber
Scott Christopherson

Original Music
Micah Dahl Anderson

Additional Editor
Josh Gibson

Assistant Editors
Jared Jakins
Josh Weathers
Sharon Bahr
Scott Christopherson

Additional Camera
Jared Jakins
Kelyn Ikegami
Jesse Myrick
Rob Nyland

Boom Operators & Sound
Kelyn Ikegami
Jeff Morain
Jared Jakins
Carly Jakins
Rob Nyland

Production Assistants
Kelyn Ikegami
Jeff Morain
Nate Christofferson

Visual Effects
Nate Christofferson

Colorist & Title Designer
Daniel Stuyck

Re-Recording Mixer
Tom Hammond

Score Mixed at Soundcrafter, Austin

Danny Hunt
Kara Petersen
Jonathan Lopez
A.J. Santos

Legal Representation
David B. Smallman, Esq.
Michael W. Christopherson, Esq.

Investigative Consultant
William J. "Dub" Lawrence

Archival Footage Courtesy
NBC News
Critical Past
Beehive Stories

Distribution Advisor

Special Thanks
Andrew Garrison
BYU Theatre & Media Arts Department
Chad & Lizzie Dalton
Chris Shaw
The Christopherson Family
Connor Boyack
Derek Draper
Derek Omori
Elizabeth Beavers
Eric Robertson
The Francom Family
Grant Taylor, Jr.
Greta Snider
Gustavo Parlebras
The Hill Family
Hunter Phillips
Jack Allred
Jason VanDerwarf
Jason Wehling
Jeff Parkin
Jenica Nielsen Barber
Jesse Fruhwirth
Jim Winder
Joel Barber
Josh Harmon
Kara Dansky
Karla Norgaard
Ken Verdoia
The Kennedy Family
Kerry Bellessa
Kevin Seely
Krissy Lawrence
The Lawrence Family
Martin Roe
Nancy Lawrence
Nels Bangerter
Ogden City Police Department
P.J. Raval
Pat Jackson
Radley Balko
Roy City Police Department
Sage Pearson
Shannan Butler
Susan Lawrence
Tim Pearson
Todd Richardson
Tom Lefler
Troy Burnett
Weber Morgan Narcotics Strike Force
William J. “Dub” Lawrence
The Wood Family

Fiscal Sponsor
Austin Film Society

Funding Provided by
St. Edward's University
Kevin Kraus
Gerry and Nancy Brown
Jason Rink
The Yip Harburg Foundation
Mallory and Schuyler Ullman
Bill Graff
And others. A complete list is available from PBS.

Peace Officer is a production of Peace Officer LLC, in association with Saint Cloud Films.

This film was produced by Peace Officer, LLC which is solely responsible for its content.

©2015 Peace Officer, LLC. All rights reserved.

Are you alarmed or comforted by the militarization of police?


  • SXSW Film Festival
    Grand Jury Award for Documentary
  • SXSW Film Festival
    Audience Award for Best Documentary
  • Cinema Eye Honors Award
  • Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
    Kathleen Bryan Edwards Award for Human Rights
  • Montclair Film Festival
    Audience Award
Please review our comment guidelines.
Are you alarmed or comforted by the militarization of police?