The Tallahassee Police Department last week introduced the “Tallahassee Bystander,” a mobile app that allows civilians to successfully record any interactions they have with law enforcement and send them to the city.
Last summer, cities across the country witnessed protests in response to the mishandling of police authority and the death of George Floyd. Tallahassee was one of those cities. Students and civilians from all walks of life gathered in the heart of downtown to speak out against police brutality. Considering the events happening at the time the Tallahassee Police Department decided to be more involved and transparent with helping residents. Partnering with a local activist group, “More than a name,” and technology development company Quadrant 2, the Tallahassee Bystander was created. After being approved by the city commission the application was put forth for development.
“I wish this app was able to be released sooner,” local resident Marquise Moo-Young said. “I recently had an encounter with the police, and the bystander app would’ve been very handy at the time.”
The goal of the app is to create a bridge between the community and city officials, so civilians and police have a better relationship. According to the official Tallahassee website, TPD is the first agency in the country to develop a voice activation application. Users must simply say, “Bystander record,” which activates the application to begin a live stream.
“It’s a step towards change for our local community,” FAMU student Loyce Gedeus said. “This app allows for another perspective to be analyzed instead of only using police body cameras.”
Key notable features of the app are video recording; bystanders have the ability to record any incidents that occur within their perspective area either on or offline. It also allows for video submissions to be sent anonymously. Emergency contacts may be added within the app; family or friends are able to share the video the user reported, which allows more than one individual to have access to the recording. Also, users are able to receive notifications to be up to date with any news regarding the city.
“The Tallahassee Police Department is setting the standard for police agencies all across the country,” FSU student Imani Lewis said. “Hopefully, we could see a significant change in not only in the Tallahassee community but the Black community as well.”
Tallahassee Bystander is now available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.