Patrick Swayze’s zen face-kicking classic Road House already taught your dad how to wear his hair in 1989, and now it may be used for an equally useful public service: teaching the officers of the NYPD how to not go around beating the hell out of everyone. According to the New York Post, a three-day retraining course for the city’s 22,000 cops—made mandatory in the wake of the death of Eric Garner, and the general sentiment that the city’s police could use a “cooler” of their own—includes a clip from the film. This was reportedly integrated after cops were seen “falling asleep” during the sessions, so bored were they by discussions of toning down excessive force.
The clip in question finds Swayze’s bouncer guru giving his employees the three simple rules of keeping an orderly nightclub and/or major metropolitan area—chiefly, learning to “be nice, until it’s time to not be nice.” In the movie, Patrick Swayze tells his goons he will “let you know” when that time is. It’s not clear whether the NYPD also plans to hire its own Patrick Swayzes for that purpose, or just maintain its current policy of “when they’re black.”
Surprisingly for a group that is normally so open to listening, the Post suggests the NYPD officers have resisted the Road House clip by “smirking and stifling laughter”—which certainly doesn’t sound like the actions of anyone who’s watching Road House. But Mayor Bill de Blasio has denied those reports, arguing that the retraining program would have “a transcendent effect,” much like seeing Road House in any context.
Elsewhere, NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton called the Post’s article “incredible misinformation,” saying the majority of officers said in a survey that they found the training useful, but notably refusing to confirm whether Road House was part of it. No doubt this is to maintain secrecy around the soon-to-be-implemented procedure of keeping the peace by ripping people’s throats out, while also helpfully reminding suspects they’re questioning that pain don’t hurt.