NORTHWEST MINNESOTA, WINTER – On a bitterly cold Minnesota morning, a State Patrol squad car pulls over an automobile for erratic driving. The familiar blue and red lights flash among the falling snow in the suspect vehicle’s rear view mirror. Sergeant Sylvia Maurstad approaches and the elderly man behind the wheel explains he is driving with a revoked license… out of necessity. He was hungry and without any food in his home, or a caregiver to assist him and such dangerous weather to be out walking, he simply wanted breakfast.
Sgt. Maurstrad recognized this man should not be legally driving but also sought to understand his unfortunate dilemma. Now lauded as a “Super Trooper” in her local community, Sgt. Maurstrad managed the situation with humanity and heroics. She aided the man by taking him to breakfast and then to the store for groceries. Throughout the following week, Sgt. Maurstrad would drive the elderly man to the Department of Motor Vehicles and assist in reinstating his revoked license. She even arranged a meeting with social services to provide a caregiver.
These are situations our Heroes in Blue encounter on a daily basis; stories often relegated to the back pages of the newspaper. But these are the actions that change lives, build trust and bring strength to communities. These are the TRUE relatings of law enforcement’s acts of kindness, heroics and humanity. They are important accounts that need to be brought to the forefront in such critical times. It’s these activities that make Heroes in Blue.
Courage, Compassion and Community
Heroes in Blue is a reality series focusing on the choices and actions of positive change our nation’s police officers make every day. During each episode, host and 10-year law enforcement veteran Detective Mike O’Keefe will journey across the United States in the ‘Thin Blue Line Memorial Vehicle’ and feature two segments filled with sometimes dramatic, sometimes hilarious, but always uplifting human stories. Through these selfless efforts, our Heroes in Blue are making a difference for the betterment of the community and the people they serve.
From small rural towns where an officer pays for a child to have emergency dental surgery, to the large metropolitan area where officers are challenging inner city youths to a basketball game, there are volumes of examples such as these taking place across the United States.
But Heroes in Blue is as much about the differences these officers are making, as it is about enacting positive changes in the neighborhoods, towns or cities they serve. Evolving beyond the harsh and antiquated policies of “Zero Tolerance”, Heroes in Blue is about understanding and outreach and how these acts of kindness, no matter how small, can make a tremendous impact on a community.
Through interviews and dramatic reenactment, Heroes in Blue will relate these true accounts of courage, compassion and community – and what it truly means to protect and serve.
Law Enforcement Acts of Kindness
In 2014, Studio 120 Executive Producer Mitch Waters introduced “The Thin Blue Line Memorial Vehicle” documentary commemorating Officer Roger Crittenden who had lost his life in the line of duty.
As the film received such high acclaim from local and statewide law enforcement, Studio 120 was able to partner with the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association to better promote the positive effects officers have on the community.
Today, with the help of www.mnchiefs.org/acts-of-kindness, officers from not only Minnesota, but around the nation are sharing their experiences with Studio 120. Stories are pouring in as to how law enforcement personnel are helping children, families and people in need. These are important stories of growth, sacrifice and community involvement that need to be told, the stories of Heroes in Blue.
Host – Detective Mike O’Keefe
A 10-year law enforcement veteran, Lieutenant Mike O’Keefe spent over seven years of his career as a patrol officer and the last two and a half years as a detective with the South Lake Minnetonka Police Department. He spends two weeks each summer volunteering as a camp counselor. Mike calls Eden Prairie, MN home and enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife & daughters.
In 2009, Officer Richard Crittenden lost his life in the line of duty. Officer Crittenden’s widow, Christine purchased her husband’s squad car in 2011 and with the help of former Police Chief Roger Schroeder, transformed the vehicle into a moving memorial. As Officer O’Keefe travels across America in the Thin Blue Line Memorial Vehicle, it will serve as a symbol of sacrifice and give context to the true stories that our men & women in law enforcement share.
“The Thin Blue Line Memorial Vehicle” short documentary, produced by Studio 120 in 2014, can be seen here: https://vimeo.com/109824797
Executive Producer – Mitch Waters
Award winning director, director of photography and executive producer Mitch Waters credits include the feature film “Alamo Gold” as well as short documentaries “St Stephens Temporary
Homeless Shelter”, “Stewards of the Earth” and “The Thin Blue Line Memorial Vehicle”. Mitch’s Emmy nominated camera work includes the Summer Olympics, Winter Olympics and the X Games.
Segment 1: PITTSBURGH, PA – Lt. Mike O’Keefe arrives in front of Steel City Boxing, an inner city boxing gym. Exiting the squad car, Mike introduces the viewers to Jack Mook, a Pittsburgh narcotics detective, Gulf War veteran, boxing coach and perfect example of Heroes in Blue.
Steel City Boxing, a gym inside a decommissioned Pittsburgh firehouse, is where Jack met Josh & Jesse, two brothers he would mentor from time to time who were living in a foster home. When the brothers stopped coming to boxing practice, Jack tracked them down and discovered they were living a poverty stricken existence with no place to sleep, no parenting and in sickly health.
“He goes: You’re coming home with me now!” said Josh. “That was one of the greatest moments of my life so far.”
Jack took it upon himself to not only open his home to them but his heart as well. He took the boys in, petitioned the state to become their foster parent, eventually adopting the boys and becoming the father they needed.
“He’s a great father because he teaches me to be a better man in life,” said Jesse.
Segment 2: ROGERS, MN – In this small, quaint Minnesota suburban community of 12,000, Lt. Mike O’Keefe stops his squad car in front of Rogers Middle School. This is the story of Officer Corbin Bateman, whose quick response and compassion may have saved a young boy’s life.
Called to the Rogers Middle School, Officer Bateman was approached by the staff who reported a young student in pain. In meeting with the child, Corbin immediately recognized he had an advanced tooth infection, but his mother was unable to afford the procedure.
Out of his own pocket, Corbin paid for emergency root canal surgery to treat the infected tooth. Going above & beyond, Corbin reached out to his local Lions Club and successfully campaigned the organization to cover the young student’s further dental costs.