HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - For some, being pulled over by police is nerve-wracking for many reasons. For those who may feel they are unsafe or simply just want to keep a record of what happened, a new development aims to give them peace of mind.
The Shortcuts app in the Apple App now allows drivers to set a voice command that thoroughly documents traffic stops.
That means when a driver gets pulled over, they can say “Siri, I just got pulled over” and their iPhone triggers the police function.
Lieutenant Michael Johnson of the Huntsville Police Department said he see’s nothing wrong with anything that makes citizens feel safer.
Johnson said he hopes drivers can do everything hands-free.
“We wouldn’t want you to hold a device for the entire length of the stop. The officer still needs to be able to control the citizen’s movement,” Johnson said. “Because again, you don’t really know why you’ve been stopped. Until that stop concludes, we ask that you be hands free.”
And local defense attorney Mark McDaniel said the app has many benefits but could incriminate a driver who is in the wrong.
“I think it's good for law enforcement, I think it's good for the person, if the person didn’t really do something,” McDaniel said, “But if a person’s driving drunk, is intoxicated, or has illegal substances in the car and pushes the app, ‘Hey, I'm getting pulled over,’ well that can very easily be used against them.”
Nonetheless, McDaniel said he’s positive the video recording would hold up in court.
The first prompt confirms whether you want to send your location to select contacts. Once you press send, the feature triggers the front camera and automatically begins recording.
The recording doesn’t stop until the driver manually ends it.
The feature goes on to save the video in the camera roll and gives the driver the option to send the footage to the same selected recipients.
To download the app, search “shortcuts” in the iOS App Store. Once downloaded, search “police” within the app and add it to your shortcuts screen.
The next step is configuring your personal settings for the police function. That includes selecting the contacts you’d like to notify.
But remember, in order for the feature to work correctly you must have Siri activated. You must also allow the shortcuts app to access your location, camera and microphone.
WHNT News 19 reached out to the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama about the citizens rights to record police encounters.
The ACLU of Alabama said they believe people have the constitutional right to record police interaction unless it blatantly interferes with the police doing their job.