Five-O: Teenagers Launch App Built To Monitor Police Brutality, Inform American Citizens Of Their Rights

By   |  August 20, 2014

Police brutality? There’s an app for that.

Three teenagers from Georgia have launched a mobile app called “Five-O” designed to record and document everyday encounters with local police. In turn, users are able to “rate” police behavior in any area of the United States, allowing the public to see how counties stack up in regard to the reputation of their law enforcement.

The app, designed by Caleb Christian, 14, and his two sisters – Ima, 16, and Asha, 15 – is already available on Android with an iOS version in the works. It enables not only reports of physical or verbal abuse by police offers, but also ratings for individual police officers using an A through F scale. Submissions can also include GPS coordinates (latitude and longitude) for future location reference of where “abuse” took place.

Although the team has been developing the app for several months, it is being officially released at a time when police brutality is a hot topic across the United States, especially because of widespread unrest taking place in Ferguson Missouri, which started largely due to the fatal shooting of 18-year Michael Brown. The highly militarized police response in Missouri has been criticized by libertarians and liberals alike.

In cases where further legal action is necessary, “Five-O” users can transfer recorded data to law enforcement officials. Speaking with Business Insider, Ima Christian said her siblings came up with the idea after hearing several reports of police brutality:

“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,” she said. “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.”

However, the teens hope to bring attention to both the positive and negative encounters that police officers have with the public, commenting to BuzzFeed:

“We definitely want there to be a balance,” Ima said. “If someone has a positive interaction with the police… for example, an officer saved your cat, or was very courteous and professional, we want people to be able to document that too. We hope that law enforcement agencies with positive reviews can help by functioning as role models.”

The Christian siblings are no strangers to computer programming. Five-O is the third app released by the family trio under their development company, Pinetart Inc. Caleb, Ima, and Asha all recently participated in MIT’s App Inventor program, and continue to learn JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and Java.

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