Georgia Teens Create App to Rate Local Police

These four technology-loving siblings decided to do something about the police abuse incidents they continued to see on the news.

Posted: 08/19/2014 06:19 PM EDT
Georgia Teens Create App to Rate Local Police

Concerned about the recent fatal police-involved shootings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, four Georgia siblings with a love for coding put their heads together to devise a meaningful solution.

"As soon as we decided that we wanted to make an app, we threw the idea on the white board,” Ima Christian, a 16-year-old high school senior, told CityLab.

Ima, her sister, Asha, 15, and her brothers Caleb, 14, and Joshua, 10, recently launched Five-O, a Yelp-like mobile app that tracks local police interaction.

Users can write incident reports, rate their interactions with law enforcement by professionalism and courtesy and review aggregate scores of police stations by county or state to see how various departments fare. Additional features include a community message board and a “Know Your Rights” Q&A section sourced from the American Civil Liberties Union.

The siblings created the app with the intentions of sharing both the negative and positive experiences of police interactions.

“We’d like to know which regions in the US provide horrible law enforcement services as well as highlight the agencies that are highly rated by their citizens. In addition to putting more power into the hands of citizens when interacting with law enforcement, we believe that highly rated police departments should be used as models for those that fail at providing quality law enforcement services”, Ima said in a statement.

A new report from the Black Youth Project shows that the Christian siblings are not alone in their concern about police brutality.

According to a national survey the group conducted in 2009, Black youth are deeply ambivalent about the police who patrol their communities even when the national news is not dominated by events like those in Ferguson. The study also revealed that only 44.2 percent of Black youth (those under the age of 30) have trust in the police, compared with 59.6 percent of Latino youth, 71.5 percent of white youth and 76.1 percent of Asian American youth.

"What we do know is that Black youth across the country perceive and experience the police and legal system in very different ways from young people of other racial groups,” the report read.

"Brown’s tragic murder provides further support for these perceptions. Sadly, these differences in experience and perception are not just results for academics to write about; they are lived realities that literally cost too many young Black people their lives. There is much work to do."

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(Photo: Pine Tart, Inc)

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