ACLU of Texas launches police accountability app 

HOUSTON — The ACLU of Texas recently announced the launch of ACLU Blue, a police accountability smartphone application that allows users to join an interactive, online community committed to documenting excessive uses of force, racial profiling and over-militarized responses by law enforcement, as well as showcase and elevate examples of model policing in Texas communities. The app is available for use in Texas on the Android and iTunes app stores in English and Spanish.

Through the ACLU Blue app, users will be able to record police interactions or upload videos recorded with other video applications. Once uploaded, the videos will be reviewed by “deputies” to verify the footage does indeed document a police interaction, after which it will be reviewed by ACLU of Texas staff and released to the public via YouTube. The app also features Know Your Rights information educating users on “What to do if Stopped by Police,” “Your Right to Film Police” and “Your Rights at the Border.

“There have been far too many incidents in this country and in this state of police interactions involving misconduct, abuse and tragedy,” Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas, said. “The ACLU Blue app is designed to continue the national conversation about policing. It encourages model policing by allowing users to show what policing should — and shouldn’t — look like. If an officer uses overly aggressive law enforcement tactics on a civilian, Texans should know about that. And when an officer demonstrates professionalism and model policing, de-escalates a tense situation or foregoes force where diplomacy is what’s warranted, then Texans should know about that, too.”

“When properly deployed, police body cameras discourage misconduct, increase accountability and transparency, improve evidence documentation and reduce civilian complaints in some cases by as much as 90 percent,” Cheryl Newcomb, deputy director for the ACLU of Texas, said. “Unfortunately, not all law enforcement agencies use them, and those that do may not have policies to release footage to the public when the public most needs to see it. The ACLU Blue app allows Texans to document police interactions and join a community dedicated to protecting civil liberties.”