Law enforcement reacts to App used to secretly record police - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Law enforcement reacts to App used to secretly record police

Ziegler Assistant Police Chief helps Heartland News reporter Loreto Cruz III demonstrate use of "Hands up for Justice" App. Ziegler Assistant Police Chief helps Heartland News reporter Loreto Cruz III demonstrate use of "Hands up for Justice" App.
(KFVS) -

An Alabama man is gaining national attention after creating a smartphone app to secretly record police.

After the shooting death of Michael Brown, along with other major cases in the past few years, Duncan Kirkwood wanted to make sure people are prepared for the worst.

"We saw a need in our community, and we saw a need that we could help address. Instead of just being Facebook activists, we decided to actually get up and do something." Kirkwood told Heartland News on Sunday.

Here's how it works.

You would first download "Hands Up for Justice" from the Google Play Store. (It isn't available yet on Apple's App Store, but Kirkwood says it will be soon.) If you're in a situation where you feel unsafe, perhaps due to domestic violence, a date-rape situation, or a traffic stop, you would hit record.

The phone screen shuts off, and sends location marked clips every two minutes to a Dropbox account, and notifies an emergency contact you specify after the initial download.

Ziegler Assistant Police Chief Ben Burkhamer says he has no issue with holding officers accountable "In fact, we have body cameras that we use. We record traffic stops and interactions in public places." Burkhamer said Sunday.

Burkhamer says his worry is that public outcry over past cases is overzealous.

"to me... just the application, seems to be politically motivated off of the Ferguson case, which we know that off of that case that it was deemed the officer was justified."

"and of course we know it's not all officers," Said Kirkwood, "so there might be one police officer for every thousand, but that one bad one needs to be held accountable for when they do something wrong."

The app currently costs $0.99, which Kirkwood says goes to pay for an overseas app developer at costs of several thousand dollars. It currently has between 500 and 1,000 downloads. You can learn about it here.

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