Police encounters have been such a polarizing topic in the news for the last decade. Regardless of what you believe, things such as police body cameras, cell phone cameras and social media (to name a few) have brought a lot of attention to how these situations are handled. In many cases they have brought fear to the community and left many people wondering how they should safely react during a traffic stop or police encounter.
We live in a very unique time with technology. When you think back to Rodney King in 1991, why was that case so polarizing and why was it long-term front-page news? The answer is simple. It was caught on videotape. The nation watched as multiple police officers seemed to use relentless physical force on Mr. King. So many people looked at that tape and were shocked at what they saw. This led to a national debate that left people wondering why this happened and what the justifications would be. It was essentially the first viral video of its’ kind. Fast forward to current times and police encounter incidents caught on video seem routine and have sparked so many debates on a case-by-case basis. While these incidents are terrible, the access to technology we all have can be viewed as a positive. It allows us the transparency to see what happens and work towards resolution as a community.
A number of mobile apps have been created as a result of these police encounters gone wrong. These apps are designed to make the community feel safer and have an additional resource in their pocket to make them feel safer and protect their personal rights. Let’s break them down:
Mobile Justice – available for iPhone and Android, this app was developed by the ACLU of California. It’s primary function is to record police encounters and have those videos sent directly to the ACLU. The videos are saved and can be utilized if you feel your civil rights have been violated.
Cop Recorder – available for iPhone and Android, this app was designed with the intention of saving voice recordings of encounters with police officers. The function works, through the app’s settings, to be functional even if your phone is in the off position. These recordings are saved and can be utilized if you feel your civil rights have been violated.
Cop Block – available for iPhone and Android, this app’s primary function is to allow you film interactions with police, especially interactions you feel could be questionable behavior. Those videos are then analyzed by a community of people.
D.O.P.E. Police Encounter App – available for iPhone and Android, this app does all of the above and then some. D.O.P.E. (standing for De-escalating Officer Patrol Encounters) wants to arm you with education and the above mentioned tools to help you prepare before, during and after any police encounters. They recognize that police encounters are typically rare and many people have not experienced them. Their educational modules from the founders will give you the information you need ahead of time to know how to properly react during a police encounter to minimize your risk of incident. This goes for both the side of the officer and the individual(s) they interact with. Many people do not know or understand their rights ahead of time and this app bridges that gap. In addition, their SOS and recording functions allow you record or report your incident from your phone to law enforcement, family members, attorneys, etc…
All of these apps are working to serve a great purpose to the community to keep all parties involved accountable and safe. Our consensus…. the D.O.P.E. Police Encounter App stands out as your all-inclusive tool to ensure you are prepared for these encounters and have transparency during and after the encounter. It is the best tool to ensure you make it home safe and protect your civil rights.