The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina—or ACLU— just launched a smart phone app that allows citizens to record and submit videos of police activity directly to the advocacy group. Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous says the app is nothing new.
Chief Evangelous says citizens have been filming police activity for years. And the Wilmington Police Department is ramping up their filming capabilities as well. The department aims to equip all police officers with body cameras:
"These cameras, both police and citizen cameras, are going to offer an extra set of eyes and ears to help deter negative behavior on behalf of the citizens and the officers. Because it goes both ways. This is not a one-way street. It’s not just bad conduct from, ya know, potential contact from officers, but it’s also citizens. It’s a two-way street."
Currently, the Wilmington PD has about fifty cameras for over 150 patrol officers, and they’re working on a grant that would pay for forty more.
But the ACLU’s app, called Mobile Justice NC, does more than record. It sends the video directly to the ACLU, even if the phone is seized or destroyed. And it alerts other app users in the area if an encounter is being filmed. Mobile Justice NC also provides an overview of citizen’s rights when interacting with law enforcement.