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West Orange Times & Observer Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 2 weeks ago

First responder ministry gets Hollywood treatment

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“Got Your Six,” a short film through Windermere Police Chief David Ogden’s organization of the same name, will premier this weekend.
by: Jim Carchidi Associate Editor

A 30-year career in law enforcement has earned Windermere Police Chief Dave Ogden experience in a range of stressful situations. But it took his ministry to get him onto a movie set.

“The initial thought was that we need something to get the message out there,” he said. “My idea was: We draw a couple stick men and say, ‘Hey, come to our event,’ but it turned into something a lot bigger.”

The film follows three first responders as they experience job-related trauma and its effect on their lives. The intent of the project, titled “Got Your Six,” is to spotlight Ogden’s first-responder ministry of the same name.

The “Got Your Six” premier will be held Sunday, Nov. 21, at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden. The film will be used to open Got Your Six ministry seminars, raise awareness for its other events and offerings, and will be offered to other organizations providing similar counseling services in their respective communities. “We’re not trying to make money with this,” Ogden said of the film. 

He already has heard from ministries and therapy groups in other cities, hoping to use “Got Your Six” to illustrate the need for stress management and counseling.

COMING TOGETHER

Got Your Six is a branch of the IronMen of God ministry, founded by Ogden’s friend David Hill. Its mission is to inspire community leadership through spiritual guidance. The name is derived from a military term, referencing a soldier’s back as the six o’clock position. Ogden founded Got Your Six to fill the need for a safe environment for his fellow first responders.

“I have a passion for law enforcement; I have a passion for drawing people to Christ,” he said. “We’re looking to offer a community for the law-enforcement community to come together.” 

Dave and Shelly Ogden with “Got Your Six” director Brooke Hill.

His vision was to give first responders the tools to improve their lives through stress management, conflict resolution and spiritual balance. Got Your Six offers a seminar series, geared toward building those strengths.

“Law enforcement, by nature, don’t trust people; it’s part of the job, but it makes other parts of life difficult to deal with,” Ogden said. “If you don’t know how to take that off when you go home, you make a horrible husband.”

Seminars offer spiritual guidance and first-hand advice.

“Sometimes it’s very simple things (such as) taking your uniform off in the garage,” he said. “Just a physical mechanism that can help us deescalate and transition from being leaders in the community to being leaders at home.” 

CONVERSATION STARTER

The need to spread the word about the seminars inspired Ogden to enlist the help of Hill’s daughter, Brooke, who evolved the project from a promotional video into a labor of love.

“I wanted it to be told from the officers’ point of view,” Brooke Hill said of the “Got Your Six” film. 

Although her filmmaking experience is minimal — mostly working on internships, with friends and for local church groups — she guided the project with Spielberg-level dedication. More than 100 hours have gone into everything from pre-production to editing. Actors were selected through virtual casting calls; special effects were crafted by hand; project funding came through a GoFundMe account with contributors of more than $100 to be credited as executive producers.

Madeline Regier and Christian De Jesus portray characters based on real-life law enforcement situations in the film, “Got Your Six.”

“My original idea was to have continual movement with the camera,” Hill said of her creative process. “It starts off with one scene, which would then transition into another scene. It originally was supposed five minutes or under … not super-great when you’re trying to tell a story and build characters.”

Hill had a passion for authenticity, which required the help of Ogden and his wife, Shelly, a former detective, as consultants and coaches for the actors. 

“She wanted to make it realistic in a way that law-enforcement officers would not be like, ‘I wouldn’t do it like that,’” Shelly Ogden said.

The desire for authenticity also manifested in a unique approach to the script. Local officers were asked to submit their own on-the-job experiences, which were pieced together to create three vignettes: the effects of job stress on a marriage; the struggles of women in law enforcement; finding purpose and financial stability in retirement. Each vignette represents a topic in the Got Your Six seminar series.

“My hope is, when a first responder sees this film, they’re going to identify with it,” Ogden said. “That’s what this is (for) — to start a conversation.”

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Jim Carchidi is an associate editor for the West Orange Times & Observer, Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. He has more than two decades of journalism experience in Central Florida, including positions at the Orlando Sentinel and the Orlando Business Journal. He holds a...

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