1. Meet Ima, Caleb, and Asha Christian. They’re siblings and high school students from Decatur, Georgia.
And they’ve come up with what they hope is a possible solution to police brutality and abuse: an app that lets citizens rate their interactions with local law enforcement.
“We had been hearing a lot about the scary and negative issues occurring in the media,” Ima (pronounced Ee-may) told BuzzFeed. “Most recently, the Michael Brown case, and we talk to our parents often about these issues and they really try to put everything into context for us. One of the things they really stress is that we focus on finding solutions.”
3. With the help of some mentors, they came up with Five-O, an iPhone and Android app (currently in beta) that aims to empower citizens by providing a metric to hold local law enforcement accountable for their actions.
When the app launches, users will be able to document and rate their interactions with individual officers and departments. Community boards will track patterns of abuse, and provide a potential forum for problem-solving among the residents, the media, and the police bureaus themselves.
4. But the app isn’t just about documenting the bad things; the siblings also think the positive interactions can serve as evidence for commendation.
“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.”
5. Five-O is the third app from the siblings’ company Pine Tart, inc.
At 14, 15, and 16 years old, the siblings have been dabbling in computer science and coding for several years through school programs like MIT’s Scratch, CodeAcademy, and app development classes at nearby Georgia Tech and Emory University.
6. Though the app has been in development for several months, Five-O has been getting recent attention and support from the tech and design communities — due to incidents like the one in Ferguson.
“The main function of Five-O,” Ima said, “Is to give a voice to the community which hopefully results in a better functioning law enforcement system.”