Guest Author – May 2021

Texas Pictures is an industrial video production company. We were established 14 years ago and much of our work is training or promotional productions for businesses. We also frequently work with law enforcement agencies to create productions that help to train officers or increase awareness about important issues such as impaired driving. These productions can present some unique challenges, but also provide unique rewards for us. These are such important stories to tell; to share because maybe, just maybe, some of these productions have saved a few lives. Our recently completed MADD Law Enforcement Series is ten short films for law enforcement audiences that tell many of these important stories.

Creating the series brought together a team of dedicated people from MADD and Texas Pictures, as well as 15 law enforcement agencies from all over the country. The goal was to use first-hand perspectives of victims and law enforcement officers to reinforce the importance of ardent enforcement of impaired driving laws. During the course of about six weeks, divided into three trips, we traveled over 8000 miles through 23 states across the US to gather footage for this series. We interviewed 20 victims or survivors, as well as 15 law enforcement officers ranging from patrol officers to command staff.

Because of Covid-19, we had to expand our standard field shooting kit to include a set of new items you wouldn’t normally expect to find with video production equipment. Along with the cameras, mics, lights, stands, and other gadgets, we added disinfecting wipes and spray, face masks, and a digital thermometer. The pandemic changed how we did things. Every shoot began with wiping down or spraying all our gear and noting everyone’s body temperature, then cleaning the gear again when we packed back up. We also had to structure interviews to be in more open settings and maintain greater distances between the subject and the crew. This all added a new challenge to creating that comfortable kind of setting that makes for good interview footage.

The 15 law enforcement officers we interviewed had similar perspectives about impaired driving regardless of rank or the part of the country we were in. They all face the same kinds of problems and all have that same kind of passion for stopping impaired drivers. They all shared similar concerns, similar frustrations, and similar experiences at traffic stops, crash scenes, and doorsteps. These officers, deputies, and troopers illustrated clearly just how significant of a problem impaired driving still is nationally.

The 20 victims and survivors who volunteered to speak with us were all remarkable people. They demonstrated incredible strength and resilience as they sat with us and openly, sometimes tearfully, relived the most painful day of their lives with the common hope that sharing their stories might save others from experiencing such a terrible loss. They were all brave, all heroes. Many of them also expressed deep gratitude toward the officers involved in their cases.

For us at Texas Pictures, we would not call this series a “difficult” project. Don’t get me wrong, it was challenging, but it was also rewarding. It was exciting to be a part of such an important effort. We met lots of great people; those in law enforcement and those that are victims or survivors. We met fighters, advocates, and leaders that all want to bring an end to impaired driving. It was a privilege to be trusted by the victims and survivors to tell their stories because maybe, just maybe, this series will save a few lives.

Editor’s note:  MADD’s Law Enforcement Impaired Driving Roll Call Video project is a NHTSA funded Cooperative Agreement.  The series of law enforcement videos produced during the project will be released in the near future.  For more information about the video series, please contact [email protected].

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