Statistics show that policing disproportionately affects communities of color; police are more likely to use force against Black and brown people.1 Data from non-violent encounters (e.g., reason for the stop, type of force used, and presence of witnesses) is rarely collected or disregarded altogether.2 Video evidence can publicize police violence. Bystander video during George Floyd’s murder led to arrests and a global racial reckoning because it depicted the reality of police encounters for people of color. Although technological advancements have led to positive developments for civilian safety (e.g., body cameras and in-car videos), data collection consistency and accountability are barriers to progress. Can society benefit from innovative yet simple tools to promote safety and accountability during police encounters? Our phone application aims to support social justice and safe policing by focusing on consistent and efficient data collection. Our goals with this paper are to: (1) lay out existing policing data collection practices and current issues involving tech and policing; (2) explain and distinguish our app’s functionality; (3) describe the importance of public and private partnerships; (4) examine potential privacy and data limitations; and (5) summarize how our app can magnify law enforcement accountability and reduce race-based policing.
1 See Elizabeth Davis, et. al., Contacts Between Police and the Public, 2015 (U.S. DEP’T OF JUSTICE BUREAU OF JUSTICE STAT., 2018), https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cpp15.pdf.
2 See The Stanford Open Policing Project, Findings (2021) https://openpolicing.stanford.edu/findings/.
Goldfield, Charlene Collazo; Chambi, Gabriela; and Torres, Amanda, "“Hey Siri, I’m Being Pulled Over.”" (2021). Joint PIJIP/TLS Research Paper Series. 70.