HBO documentary following 2 San Antonio police officers now available on YouTube

‘Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops,’ gives look into SAPD’s mental health-focused unit

A still from Ernie & Joe.
A still from Ernie & Joe. (HBO)

SAN ANTONIO – A documentary that chronicled two officers in the San Antonio Police Department’s Mental Health Unit is available for viewers to watch on YouTube.

“Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops” premiered on HBO last November amid national acclaim and follows SAPD officers Ernie Stevens and Joe Smarro as they responded to mental health calls around San Antonio.

“The film takes audiences on a personal journey, weaving together their experiences during their daily encounters with people in crisis,” according to the documentary’s website. It’s “an intimate portrait of two Texas police officers who are helping change the way police respond to mental health calls.”

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The documentary sheds light on SAPD’s 10-person Mental Health Unit as police brutality cases remain a hot topic for the nation.

KSAT 12 rode alongside Stevens and Smarro in 2014. “A lot of times we deal with the four major types of mental illness. That’s depression, bipolar, schizophrenia and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder),” Stevens said at the time.

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The documentary won South by Southwest’s special jury award and Independent Film Festival Boston’s grand jury award. It was also selected for film festivals in Berkshire, Rome, Dallas and Nashville, among other cities.

See the 2014 ride along below:


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