A Florida city has released a smartphone app, “Tallahassee Bystander,” allowing users to film their interactions with cops. The first-of-its-kind app was released on the heels of three officer-related shootings.
People in Florida’s state capital can stream their interactions with police officers in the city. Then the streamed footage is sent to a local server, where it is saved so it can be viewed by officials if necessary, the Daily Mail reported.
Another report said that the videos will be streamed to the Tallahassee Police Department, which could request more information from the user through a push notification. The app allows the user not to register any information and allows anonymity.
It can also be used hands-free by saying the words “Bystander, record.” Mayor John Dailey said that they wanted the app to be hands-free and voice-activated so that people can keep their hands where the officers could see them “and not be digging around something in the car.”
The app was developed last year, and the City Commission allocated $50,000 for its creation. This was prompted after a meeting with local Black Lives Matter activists. The city’s Technology and Innovation Department worked with Tesia Lisbon and Paul Woodly to develop the app.
The app aims to increase transparency regarding incidents with officers in the city. Tallahassee NAACP branch President Mutagee Akbar said that creating the app was the right step for the city. He noted, “Anything that increases transparency and that bridges that gap between the community and law enforcement, I think is necessary and needed.”
In a press conference, while launching the app, Police Chief Lawrence Revell said: “We are here for our community. We want to listen and continue to collaborate on ways to strengthen our relationship with the community – and the launch of this app really highlights that.”
As far as the police-involved shootings are concerned, the southern city encountered three cases last year. These shootings were the first police-related incidents after no reports of such since the year 2018. In these three shootings, a suspect died.