Screening the Police: Film and Law Enforcement in the United States

Noah Tsika


IN STOCK$36.95

American police departments have presided over the business of motion pictures since the end of the nineteenth century. Their influence is evident not only on the screen but also in the ways movies are made, promoted, and viewed in the United States. Screening the Police explores the history

of film's entwinement with law enforcement, showing the role that state power has played in the creation and expansion of a popular medium.

For the New Jersey State Police in the 1930s, film offered a method of visualizing criminality and of circulating urgent information about escaped convicts. For the New York Police Department, the medium was a means of making the agency world-famous as early as 1896. Beat cops became movie stars.

Police chiefs made their own documentaries. And from Maine to California, state and local law enforcement agencies regularly fingerprinted filmgoers for decades, amassing enormous records as they infiltrated theatres both big and small.

As author Noah Tsika demonstrates, understanding the scope of police power in the United States requires attention to an aspect of film history that has long been ignored. Screening the Police reveals the extent to which American cinema has overlapped with the politics and practices of law


ISBN 9780197577738
List price $34.95
Publisher Oxford University Press, USA
Year of publication 2021