The City of Tallahassee, with the cooperation of the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD), has launched a new mobile phone application that allows residents to record their interactions with police officers.
The app, Tallahassee Bystander, was developed by the city’s Technology and Innovation Department with the help of local non-profit More Than a Name and the company Quadrant 2, and is touted by the city as a step towards more police transparency.
According to police, the app allows users to livestream video by voice activation, and since it’s live, the video cannot be edited or censored. In addition, no registration is required so users remain anonymous.
Police can also contact a user anonymously via a push notification to obtain more information about a video submission, and the TPD can be alerted of an active situation via the app.
Videos are sent to multiple parties when recording. One copy is saved to the phone, another is sent to the TPD, and one is sent to three emergency contacts set by the user.
Police Chief Lawrence Revell thanked the developers who were involved in the app’s creation.
“We are here for our community. We want to listen and continue to collaborate on ways to strengthen our relationships with the community and the launch of this app really highlights that,” Revell said at a press conference.
According to USA Today, Tallahassee is the first city to develop this kind of app, which received around $50,000 dollars by The City Commission for its development. It can be downloaded on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
Mayor John Dailey also praised City Hall and the police’s cooperation in developing the app to foster trust and transparency in the community.
“This is the first of its kind in the nation,” Dailey said proudly. “And the first of its kind [that is] fully endorsed by a police department. That is something every citizen in Tallahassee should be very proud of.”
Dailey said the app was made in response to demands from protesters regarding accountability and transparency following several high-profile shootings in the city and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“It’s no big secret that last summer was a very difficult time in society all across the world, across the United States, across the state of Florida, and right here in Tallahassee,” Dailey said. “It’s also no big secret that each and every day, we step up as a city. We try to increase public trust in our city government, in our police department, and increase transparency.”
Dailey added that the app should bring more comfort to the community.
“It provides everybody another level of comfort, another level of interaction with the police department, and, quite frankly, it helps our citizens and it helps the police department.”