American Beat

Cops and Refugees Join Forces in Boise


Since the 1970s, thousands of refugees from countries like Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, and Somalia have started new lives in Idaho. The new documentary American Beat: Cops and Refugees Join Forces in Boise weaves together three heartwarming stories that rise above the divisive politics of immigration: the groundbreaking efforts of Boise police officers to integrate and mentor refugees; the determination of a former Iraqi translator for the U.S. military who is putting down roots in a new country with his family and dreaming of becoming a police officer; and a portrait of Boise itself, coming together to show refugees from war-ravaged parts of the world that, in America, a united community can conquer tragedy and hate.

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Stills from the Film


July 16, 2018


The PBS World Channel begins broadcasting “American Beat” as part of its Come Together collection—presenting real-life stories of people coming together for their fellow man, woman and child. Visit the World Channel website for more information about airdates throughout the last two weeks of July.

March 29, 2018


Broadcast Premiere on Idaho Public Television. Watch the full documentary here.

February 6, 2018

Premiere at Boise State University
Hosted by Wassmuth Center for Human Rights and the Boise State School of Social Work

“The best ideas in policing don’t come from the top, they come from the people who are doing the work.”

— Chief William Bones, Boise Police Department


Gail Ablow, Director/Producer

Gail Ablow

Gail Ablow is a Carnegie Corporation of New York visiting media fellow for democracy. A former producer for Moyers & Company and Bill Moyers Journal, she first began working with Bill Moyers on documentaries including the series On Our Own Terms: Moyers on Dying. She has produced breaking news, documentaries, and interviews for PBS, ABC, CNN and CNBC. Her work has earned four Emmy nominations, a Peabody Award, and an Edward R. Murrow Award. She is an alumna of Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism and was a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

Rob Finch, Director/Cinematographer

Rob Finch

Rob Finch is an award-winning photojournalist and visual storyteller based in Portland, Oregon. As creative director at Blue Chalk Media, he directs, shoots, and edits in both the documentary and advertising worlds. Before helping start Blue Chalk, Finch was part of the team from the Oregonian recognized with the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting. He has also won the Online Journalism Award for Best Video Presentation and has been a two-time Newspaper Photographer of the Year in the Pictures of the Year contest.

Greg Moyer, Executive Producer

Greg Moyer

Greg Moyer is the chief executive officer of Blue Chalk Media and an award-winning broadcast and digital media executive with a track record of innovation in channel design, brand positioning, programming, marketing, and global distribution. Moyer has successfully operated across senior positions for Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, VOOM HD, and Food Network, among others. Moyer led Discovery in collecting five George Foster Peabody Awards for programming excellence.

Maria Kjellstrand, Editor

Maria Kjellstrand

Maria Kjellstrand is an editor at Blue Chalk Media, where she has worked on educational videos, commercial content, and short- and long-form documentaries. She is a 2015 graduate of Carleton College.

Additional Cinematography: Whitney Bradshaw, Megan Clark, Jamie Francis
Additional Editing: Greg Snider
Graphics: Jesse Crowell
Sound Design: Chip Sloan, Digital One
Color: Darren Hartman
Production Manager: Sebastian Weinberg


Philanthropic funding provided by Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Carnegie Corporation of New York logo


Fact Sheet on Refugees

Important terminology and definitions, FAQs, and more.


Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) Report

The filmmakers first learned about the Boise Police Department’s work with refugees through the research of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a nonprofit organization that works to improve the delivery of police services nationwide. PERF’s report on refugee outreach and engagement programs for police agencies was published in May of 2017.


A Conversation with the Police Executive Research Forum’s Chuck Wexler and Maggie Brunner

Chuck Wexler, PERF’s executive director for 24 years, and Maggie Brunner, lead researcher for the PERF report on refugee outreach, spoke with Gail Ablow, CCNY visiting media fellow.

Read on Medium 

Full Interview with Boise Police Chief William Bones

The Boise police chief discusses the importance of building partnerships, personal relationships, and trust among communities with refugees.

Read on Medium 


Promotional tools for broadcasting or for press review of AMERICAN BEAT: Cops and Refugees Join Forces in Boise.



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