Mourners gathered on Monday to remember Michael Brown at a St. Louis church. The death of Brown — an unarmed black teenager who was shot by a white officer in Ferguson, Mo. — set off protests in the St. Louis suburb and sparked a national conversation about police violence.
As questions about the police and the use of force continue to take center stage, three teenagers in Georgia launched a new app last week called Five-O that rates interactions with officers.
Not Impossible Now spoke with Ima Christian, 16, and Asha, 15, who developed Five-O with their brother Caleb, 14. (This interview has been edited and condensed.)
Q: What inspired you to create Five-O?
Ima: We started developing Five-O about six months ago. We had been hearing a lot about the scary and negative issues in the media, most recently, the Michael Brown case. And it was sort of a culmination of events that had been taking place around that time.
We talk to our parents often about these issues, and they really tried to put everything into context for us. In doing so, one of the things that they stressed is that we focus on finding solutions.
My brother Caleb, who’s 14, thought that we should develop an app. From there, we drew our ideas on a white board.
Q: How did you get comfortable working with code to develop Five-O?
Ima: My sister and I have taken design courses and computer science courses. From there, it just progressed. But we’re by no means coders. We’d like to think of ourselves as problem solvers. We developed this app tutorial by tutorial. We’re very comfortable creating something through technology because of our prior experience.
Q: Five-O launched on the Android app store last week. What has the response been like?
Ima: By the second day the app was on the store, we had 2,000 downloads. We’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback. We’re pretty happy about how it’s been going so far.
Q: What are some of the features on Five-O?
Ima: One of the main things that we have is that you can create an incident report. You rate your interaction with the law enforcement officer on an A through F scale. You can rate the officer on professionalism and courtesy. Also, you can add your own interpretation on how you feel the interaction went. And what we do with your ratings is that we calculate an average overall.
Asha: You can go back and review all of your incident reports anytime you like in a report folder in the application. Another feature that we have in the application is that you can organize your community.
Q: Does Five-O only track negative incidents with the police?
Ima: We definitely want there to be a balance. If someone has a positive interaction with the police, we want people to be able to document that, too.