And the Emmy Goes to – LASD

In providing a message regarding gun safety, the sheriff’s department earned a nod from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Photo courtesy of Jaime LOPEZ, LASD Photographer
The team that created the Emmy Award winning PSA ‘Dresser Drawer.’


Imagine hearing voices of young children talking about playing zombie hunters. It sounds like a typical play date; however, the visual that is linked to these playing children is a handgun, hidden under some clothes in what appears to be a closet. The giggles and excitement are heard from the kids as they plan their pretend attack. Then one child says, “Wait – I have something really cool we can use.” 

A small hand is seen digging through the clothes until it comes upon the gun and takes it away. You hear the children playing for a brief time, pretending to attack the zombie until a shot rings out and reality hits hard.

“This is part of our Gun Safety Campaign,” said Sgt. Harry Drucker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept.

The video was so impactful that it was recognized with an Emmy for best public service announcement from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The video is a four-part series on gun safety – “If They’re Not Secured, They’re Not Safe.” The winning video concerns dresser drawer storage.

Drucker oversees the production of the LASD’s video unit. The unit can trace all the way back to the 1970s when it used photographs and videos as part of the training for cadets.

“We were in constant need of training material,” Drucker said.

Over the years the program has grown, even since Drucker began with the unit in 2007. From just producing training films to now reaching people through PSAs on television and social media, the unit is constantly updating its approach. It tackles several issues through its outreach efforts. The idea for gun safety/storage came from Women Against Gun Violence. They had approached an LASD detective who contacted Drucker and the production company.

Drucker said he was shocked when they won the Emmy and pointed out he is part of an entire company.

“I am part of the [production] group,” he said. “The real skill and creativity comes from the [production] group.”

He explained there are sworn law enforcement officers, like himself, on the team in addition to the creative team that is not part of law enforcement.

“It’s like a production company. We have a client, the LASD,” he said.

The creative process of the production is the same as with most film companies. The group members decide what issue they want to cover, they watch other PSAs on the subject and then have roundtable discussions on how best to approach their video. They are always walking the line of making it entertaining, either through humor or, in the case of the winning video, bringing an unapologetic reality to the screen.

“There are a ton of ideas that get discarded. A lot of those that get discarded are my ideas,” he joked.

They made three other videos on gun storage/safety: One speaks to how homes are childproofed but residents tend to forget to lock up guns. Another one deals with a young boy taking a gun to school in his backpack to protect him from a bully. Another deals with the absurdity of not locking guns safely, using the image of an astronaut in full gear working as a filing clerk, titled “It’s Not Rocket Science.”

Drucker added there is no excuse to not locking guns up safely and thinks these videos do make an impact.

“In the auditorium when they played the clip of [the Emmy winning video] you could feel the whole room getting uncomfortable,” he said.

And that is exactly what they want to do with this outreach, to make people think, to educate them on the issue and to bring a sudden sense of what can really happen if guns are not properly locked up.

Drucker has been in different units throughout his career, including crisis negotiation, and brings all of his real world experience to the projects, which include other issues like driving under the influence of marijuana.

The others on his production team are Deputy Yury Polissky, video production specialist, Vance Kotrla, writer/director on both the Emmy winning “Safe Gun Storage PSA” and the film “Surviving an Active Shooter,” which won the Emmy for independent programming in 2016, Sean Jacobs, director of photography for the winning PSA, Gerardo Mendoza, Eric King, Adrian Guillemet and support staff member Tamica Trigo.

A national survey conducted by researchers at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that 54% of gun owners reported not storing all their guns safely.

The survey was conducted in 2016 of 1,444 gun owners and the data was released in 2018. The survey defined safe storage as all guns stored in a locked gun safe, cabinet or case, locked into a gun rack or stored with a trigger lock or other lock, according to a statement from researchers.

“The survey also found that children under the age of 18 were present in approximately one-third, or 34%, of the homes. Gun owners were 44% more likely to report safely storing all their firearms if they have a child under the age of 18 in the home; slightly more than half, or 55%, of gun owners with children under 18 reported storing all of their guns safely.”

To view the videos go to to see the Dresser Drawer – Emmy winner for PSA; – Things We Lock Up;– Backpack; – Rocket Science.