Created by Arizona iPhone user Robert Petersen, an iOS 12 Shortcuts add-on called “Police” allows Apple’s virtual assistant to record encounters with law enforcement with a simple command. Petersen noticed the majority of incidents reported in the news involving police and citizens typically boil down to the words of each party, which is why having an extra set of eyes can benefit any criminal case.
All iPhone users have to say is, “Hey Siri, I’m getting pulled over.” Then the virtual assistant will set your device to Do Not Disturb mode, mute any incoming notifications, turn down the music, and dim the screen, enabling drivers to provide the officer with their complete attention. The phone’s front-facing camera will start recording and a text message is sent to an emergency contact, detailing your current situation and whereabouts.
Once the encounter is over, simply press “Keep” to save. Furthermore, a copy of the incident will be sent to designated contacts.
While the creator believes that most people won’t have to ever use the add-on, it can be an invaluable tool when such a situation arises. Users cannot rely on police body camera footage alone since public release can take a long time.
If you do not have an iPhone, there are several similar apps available. For instance, “ACLU Blue”--created by the American Civil Liberties Union--allows users to record officers and release the video to the public. An app called “I’m Getting Arrested!” lets users sent a customized text alert if they are ever under arrest.