The City of Tallahassee and the Tallahassee Police Department have introduced a new way for residents to interact with police – a âfirst-of-its-kindâ mobile phone app that, among other things, can record interactions with officers.
Tallahassee Bystander hit app stores Tuesday morning. During a press conference organized to unveil the app, Police Chief Lawrence Revell thanked everyone who participated in its development.
âWe are here for our community,â Revell said. “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.”
Mayor John Dailey said the app represents city hall and police working together to build trust and transparency in the community.
âIt’s the first of its kind in the country,â Dailey said. “And the first of its kind (ie) fully approved by a police department. It is something that every citizen of Tallahassee should be very proud of.”
The comeback story: The city publishes an application focused on transparency between citizens and the police
The app was developed over the past year by the city’s Technology and Innovation Department in partnership with Tesia Lisbon and Paul Woodley with the local non-profit More Than a Name association and the company New York-based Quadrant 2.
Last year’s protests in Tallahassee after George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police have sparked calls for more transparency within the community.
At the same time, Tallahassee was grappling with the fallout from three shootings by local police, a grand jury later determined to be a justified use of force by police officers. The app was one of the demands protesters made to the city during large and noisy protests outside the TPD headquarters.
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âIt’s no secret that this past summer was a very difficult time in society around the world, in the United States, in the state of Florida and right here in Tallahassee,â said Dailey. “It is also no big secret that every day we move forward as a city. We try to increase public confidence in our municipal government, in our police service and to increase transparency.”
Tallahassee branch of the NAACP chairman Mutaqee Akbar, a voice among the crowd calling for police transparency, said he had yet to see the full request, but believed that it was a step in the right direction.
âAnything that increases transparency and bridges the gap between the community and law enforcement, I think is necessary and necessary,â he said.
In addition to the creation of the Citizens Police Review Board, the app offers Tallahasseeans a way to capture interactions with the police which can then be reviewed and analyzed.
The municipal commission last June allocated $ 50,000 for the creation of the application. It is available for download now in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. Although similar apps exist, such as the American Civil Liberties Union’s Mobile Justice app, Tallahassee is the first city to support and distribute such technology.
According to TPD, the main features of the app include:
- Exclusive voice activation technology to ensure safe operation.
- The recorded videos are streamed live to the phone – once a video starts, it cannot be censored.
- No app registration – video submissions are anonymous.
- The TPD can request more information about a submission via a push notification, while maintaining anonymity.
- Videos are distributed to multiple parties to ensure transparency.
- One copy will be forwarded to TPD, one copy will be saved to the phone, and another will be forwarded to three anonymous emergency contacts defined by the requester.
Contact Tori Lynn Schneider at [email protected] or on Twitter @photoriphy. Check out her photos on Instagram @phototori_.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story had an incorrect location for the Quadrant 2 company. It is based in New York City.
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