If you are an iPhone user, a new add-on to the “Shortcuts” app—only available for iOS12—allows Siri to secretly record police traffic stops with a simple command. Known as “Police”, the feature was created by Robert Petersen of Arizona to give motorists an extra layer of security when interacting with law enforcement.
Petersen said that the wave of news reports involving police officers and ordinary citizens like us often come down to their words against ours. Although many police departments enforce the use of body cameras, the process of recovering the footage can take weeks or months. In order to obtain instantly-available evidence, Police enables Siri to become your second set of eyes if you are pulled over by police.
All you need to say is, “Hey Siri, I’m getting pulled over” to allow Apple’s virtual assistant to set off a series of motions. In order to reduce distractions so drivers can focus entirely on the situation at hand, Siri turns on Do Not Disturb mode, mutes any notifications being sent to your phone, lowers the music volume, and dims the screen.
Then, the front camera records the interaction, while a text message, detailing what’s happening and your current location, is sent to an emergency contact. Once the incident is over your phone’s functions will return to normal. Just press “Keep” to save it to a cloud storage service or send to designated contacts.
If you are not an iPhone user, there are many other apps available that can be used to record police interactions. The American Civil Liberties Union has developed an app called “ACLU Blue” which sends user footage to a public forum after recording. “Stop and Frisk Watch” was created by the New York Civil Liberties Union to allow users to document law enforcement, alert others who are using the app, and allow users to report incidents they didn’t film.