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Yelp for Cops: Trying To Bring Transparency to The Chicago Police Department

Posted on: October 31st, 2016 by Romanucci & Blandin

Tensions between police departments and the public are at an all-time high across the country – especially here in Chicago.  Just this month, a report of complaints lodged against the Chicago Police Department (CPD) was released and included over 134,000 complaints during a 34-year period.  That is an outrageous number, and the public is starting to demand action against police misconduct.  

Channing Harris is trying to answer that demand with his new app called Excuse Me Officer or XMO for short.  This app allows people to write reviews of police in their district as well as rate their districts on a scale of one to five.  These reviews will be geo-tagged on a map of the city to show where there are higher or lower rates of police misconduct.  XMO will also allow users to upload videos of any incidents and they will be matched up with other geo-tagged incidents.

Harris hopes that his app will help create a transparent platform where you can see everything going on in your community, both good and bad.  Although users can include badge numbers and other information about their interaction with the police, they won’t be able to attach officer’s names to these reviews.  Harris doesn’t want his app to vilify police officers based on unproven allegations, he just wants attention to be brought to the amount and intensity of police interactions with the public.  

This isn’t the first app of its kind and it certainly isn’t the first time people have tried to create transparency in the police community.  The Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project has been in Chicago for over 15 years and provides legal help for victims of police misconduct.  XMO aims to bring awareness to troubling situations and hopes to spur action within the community and the force.  

Beyond transparency, it’s important that when someone files a complaint against a police officer something is actually done about it.  So often people won’t report misconduct because they don’t think anything will happen – and to an extent they’re right.  There are so many hoops that civilians have to jump through just to file a formal complaint and even if they take all the necessary steps, it isn’t a guarantee action will be taken.  

We need more platforms like the Excuse Me Officer app and we need people in command to stand up and take action when one of their own does something wrong.  If you have been a part of any instances of police misconduct or brutality, you need to report it immediately and talk with an attorney who will help make your voice heard. The experienced attorneys at Romanucci & Blandin are here to do this.   

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