WILDWOOD — A Cape May County police union is hosting a free documentary screening and discussion Thursday evening surrounding police use of force.
PBA Local 401 will show “Dinkheller,” a documentary about Georgia Deputy Kyle Dinkheller, who was fatally shot during a traffic stop in January 1998, at the Wildwood Convention Center. The dash camera footage of the incident, which is available online, has been used since the incident in police training on use-of-force.
Joe Berg, president and state delegate for the PBA, said that coverage and reports of police use-of-force has had a negative impact on the relationship between law enforcement and the community.
While researching, Berg came across a documentary by Patrick Shaver called “Officer Involved,” which focuses more on the emotional toll these incidents take on the officer rather than the incident itself, he said.
“Too often, officers are portrayed as being people who, almost, seek these incidents out — gun toting individuals looking to violate rights, or take a life,” Berg said. “While I know that couldn’t be further from the truth, the documentary really told that story in a way I could never, having never discharged my weapon in the line of duty.”
“Dinkheller,” Shaver’s new film, “focuses on an officer’s concern to take appropriate action, due to perceived issues that would come after the fact, related to questions about his/her choice to use and escalate force,” Berg said.
After the film, the floor will be open for discussion, including Shaver, who will share what he learned throughout the film-making process.
Berg said that he hopes it will spark “a discussion as to the impact of the over-critical examination of use of force incidents.”
“Officers are placed in split-second, decision-making scenarios where their knowledge, training, experience but, most importantly, their perception of the incident guides their decision making process,” Berg said. “If you’ve never been in that situation, or have had the training on how to react, your decision can end up being slightly askew. I hope this event helps anyone in the audience gain a wider perspective as to all use-of-force situations.”