In January 2020, The David & Lura Lovell Foundation convened a community screening of “Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops,” an HBO documentary about police responses to mental-health calls at The Loft Cinema. Director Jenifer McShane follows police officers Ernie Stevens and Joe Smarro during their daily encounters with people in crisis as members of the San Antonio Police Department’s 10-person mental-health unit. Ernie & Joe is currently streaming on HBO.
A panel discussion followed the screening which featured producer and director Jenifer McShane and the titular Mental Health Peace Officer Joe Smarro. Audience members were eager to learn more about the film and its subjects as well as what resources are available regionally.
Local panelists included moderator Christina Rossetti, of Rossetti Consulting Group; Dr. Richard Rhoads, Chief Psychiatrist of the Banner-UMC Crisis Response Center; Judy Kowalick of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Southern Arizona, or NAMI; Sabrina Taylor, the Phoenix Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team Coordinator and board member of Crisis Intervention Team International; and Jason Winsky supervisor of the Tucson Police Department Mental Health Support Team.
The Tucson-based David and Lura Lovell Foundation helped underwrite production of the documentary and sponsored the local screening.
Recorded and produced by Amanda Shauger.