Copper

I don’t believe I thought much about policemen when I was a kid except that there were a lot of them on TV and my Dad and I liked lots of shooting and dying. I have a very vague memory of a break-in or an occasion where we had to call the police and I recall having the impression of the officers being very polite, even deferential to my father.

What I came to understand is that I was born in privilege and the police are generally deferential to the citizens in my childhood neighbourhood. When I drove a cab though, I joined an entirely different class. In the minds of the police I was encountering, we were below them. And we were easy marks. After the bars close, there aren’t many people on the road except cops and cabbies. You’d think that would have made us brothers. But you’d be wrong. A bored cop can always have a little fun hassling a cabbie and there are lots of ways to punish them financially with tickets, including infractions relating to out-of-date laws that no taxi driver still followed.

Policemen lie to their children every night. We tell them not to be afraid of monsters because monsters don’t exist. But those of us involved in this life know that monsters do exist.

There’s probably no group of people so ubiquitous and so integral to our lives that we know less about. James Comey, addressing a convention of police chiefs said that policemen lie to their children every night. “We tell them not to be afraid of monsters because monsters don’t exist. But those of us involved in this life know that monsters do exist”.

They protect, they serve and yet they feel separate from us. And vice versa. Perhaps in Copper, we can start to bridge that gap.

Feature Documentary | TVO | 2018