Tindell issues cease and desist letter over film’s depiction of State Troopers.
Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety Sean Tindell is serious about upholding the dignity of the Mississippi Highway Patrol, so much so that he has sent a letter to a movie production company challenging their depiction of the “hard-earned reputation and image” our the troopers.
“Paradise Highway” is currently filming in Mississippi. It is directed by Anna Gutto, a Norway-born screenwriter, and features actors Morgan Freeman, Juliette Binoche and Hala Finley. The film is being produced by Claudia Bluemhuber / Silver Reel.
Commissioner Tindell’s notice to cease and desist outlines that the production company is using official insignia of the state Highway Patrol, with several photographs purporting to show actors wearing uniforms resembling those worn by troopers. He says the manner in which the troopers are depicted in the photos are concerning.
“The photographs shared on social media give rise to significant concern that your production may jeopardize or otherwise tarnish the hard-earned reputation and image of the MHP,” Tindell writes, adding, “One of the most important reasons for upholding and safeguarding the image of the MHP is maintaining the general public’s respect for Troopers and law enforcement in general.”
The Commissioner tells the company that while the MHP trooper uniform may not mean much to them, “it means a hell of a lot to us.”
Tindell writes that to his knowledge the production company has not received authorization to wear or use the MHP insignia or uniform. Not doing so is in violation of Miss. Code Sec. 45-3-29. That statute states:
(1) Except as otherwise authorized under this section, it shall be unlawful for any person not authorized so to do to impersonate a state highway safety patrolman, wear or use the insignia or uniform thereof, or to in anywise imitate or impersonate such patrolman. Any person adjudged guilty of violating this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not more than One Hundred Dollars ($ 100.00) or by imprisonment in the county jail, where such offense is committed, for a term not exceeding one (1) year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
Commissioner Tindell offers to work with the film company to supply actual MHP troopers and ensure that they are properly depicted in the movie.
The full letter from Tindell is below.