On August 24, 2021 the Tallahassee Police Department released the Tallahassee Bystander app which is designed to record interactions with police and increase community engagement. The new mobile application was approved for development by the City Commission in June 2020.
Over the last few years, prompted by increased attention to law enforcement altercations, several apps and services have been released to allow citizens to record encounters with law enforcement.
For example, the Mobile Justice app created for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), allows the user to record encounters and automatically emails it to the ACLU, where the file is saved to an external hard drive.
Additionally, an app named PulledOver will record an encounter as well as notify an emergency contact the user’s location. Also, it sends the video to the Pulled Over community to “raise awareness.”
Apple and Android have also integrated the feature in their phone settings that can be activated by its user.
TPD’s app began development during the summer of 2020, amidst the nation-wide riots following the death of George Floyd. The city committed $50,000 and worked with Quadrant 2 Inc., a software development company, as well as, More Than A Name, a social justice group to create the app.
Chief Lawrence Revell stated, “This application is a direct result of collaboration between the community and law enforcement. Building relationships in the community means enhancing trust and transparency through tools like this application. The transition of this application from a community request to fulfillment also highlights our efforts to have meaningful conversations that produce tangible results.”
Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey said, “I am proud that Tallahassee is the first city in the nation to develop an app like this to increase transparency and build trust in the community.”
The applications features include, voice activation technology, recorded videos stream live and are uncensored, no app registration – video submissions are anonymous, TPD can use push notifications to reach out for more information, and to ensure transparency, the videos are distributed to multiple parties chosen by the user.
The app is available for download through Google Play and the Apple Store.