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Social Media To Shape Police Conduct

Teens Design App To Encourage Better Police Behaviour

The new app, Five-O, has been in development for the last few months, but comes as a timely and appropriate response to politicised race issues, such as the recent death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, which has sparked international queries into the nature of police conduct.

Hailing from Georgia, 14-year-old Caleb Christian and his two sisters, 15 year old Asha and 16-year-old Ima, designed the app on the premise that it would encourage better police behaviour, as users can rate their local police departments and individual encounters with officers.

The siblings told US news outlets that: “We've been hearing about the negative instances in the news, for instance most recently the Michael Brown case, and we always talk about these issues with our parents, they always try to reinforce that we should focus on solutions. It’s important to talk about the issues, but they try to make us focus on finding solutions – that made us think why don’t we create an app to help us solve this problem”.

This is in fact the third app released by the siblings, who taught themselves coding and app design over the last few years from public school programme’s like MIT’s Scratch and CodeAcademy whilst attending app development classes at the nearby Georgia Tech and Emory University. They have set up their own company, Pinetart Inc., and with the help of mentors, Five-O becomes their latest app.

As the situation in Ferguson plummets further into disarray and violent dispute, the app offers a tool for aggrieved citizens to empower themselves by providing a metric by which to rate local police forces and hold them accountable for their actions. Importantly though, the teenage siblings also stress their desire for the app to be used for positive and beneficial purposes, hoping that users will praise and applaud commendable police actions (unlike the unfortunate hijack of the #myNYPD hashtag campaign).

An autopsy this week has revealed that the unarmed Michael Brown was shot six times on the day that he died, twice in the head. Violence in the Missouri town of Ferguson has peaked, with police and citizens coming to heavy blows – tear gas, injuries and gunshot wounds marked a weekend of hostility and altercation. Governor Jay Nixon’s decision on Saturday to declare a state of emergency and impose a midnight-to-5am curfew is further cause for concern.

The app is in its final stages of beta testing and will soon be available for iPhone and Android devices later in the month.

Katie Rowley 

Recent graduate and now interning as content editor, when she's not writing articles Katie can quite likely be found festival-ing, holiday-ing or reading a book (dedicated English student that she is). Follow her @KatieAtSMF.

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Social Media To Shape Police Conduct Reviewed by Anonymous on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 Rating: 5
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