TOPEKA (KSNT) – “There is three sides to a story. Your side, my side, and then somewhere in the middle is what has really happened.” says Sgt. Colleen Stuart of the Topeka Police Department.
The American Civil Liberties Union agrees. Which is why the ACLU of Missouri unveiled their newest app. It’s called ‘Mobile Justice.’
“We thought it was kind of a good tool to empower people who feel they might be harassed by police,” says Director of Communications for the ACLU of Missouri, Diane Balogh.
It’s an app that sends footage from your phone directly to the ACLU.
So if you’re pulled over or stopped by police, there’s no ‘he-said-she-said.’ It’s on camera, and the ACLU automatically has it on file to use in court.
“It’s every citizen’s constitutional right, I suppose, to protect themselves. And if they feel that they need to go to that length to record law enforcement encounters, then they have every right to do that as long as it doesn’t interfere with the official duty of that officer,” says Stuart.
“We knew a tool like that was needed. And then when Ferguson came up, it was like we really needed to get it out the door quickly,” say Balogh.
Topeka Police say “go ahead and hit record,” because chances are, they’re already doing the same. The department currently uses body cameras for most of their stops. So, using the app during a police stop just means an extra copy of the footage.
Some of the features to this app?
A GPS locator tool, a report it feature for witnesses, and a know your rights section. Something the ACLU reiterates isn’t supposed to foster distrust with police.
“We would never betray our badge, and our badge is a symbol of trust that the community has in us,” says Stuart.
Mississippi, Oregon, and Nebraska also unveiled their mobile justice apps this week. Other states, and possibly Kansas, will release ‘Mobile Justice’ in the next few months.