An iPhone app will safely record your interactions with police and alert emergency contacts
via Pexels

An iPhone shortcut that lets you record an interaction with the police is gaining popularity in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder and ensuing protests.

The shortcut was first created by Robert Petersen in 2018 who shared his creation on Reddit.

"I just wanted a way for anyone to have proof of their version of events in the unlikely scenario that something unexpected happens during a police interaction," said Petersen, according to CNN. "If 1 in 10,000 people find my shortcut useful at all I'd be glad."


After downloading and installing the shortcut, all the user has to do is say, "Hey Siri, I'm getting pulled over," and the application kicks off a series of actions to help safely document your interaction with the police.

It pauses any music that may be playing on your phone, turns on Do Not Disturb, turns down the iPhone's brightness and activates the camera to record video and audio of the interaction.

It also sends a text message to a person of your choosing who immediately knows you're being pulled over and is alerted to your exact location via a pin dropped on a map. After the interaction, it will send video of the incident to your contact, as well.

"Once you stop the recording it sends a copy of the video to a contact you specify, puts volume and brightness back to where they were, turns off Do Not Disturb, and gives you the option to send to iCloud Drive or Dropbox," according to a Reddit post by Petersen.

Petersen says it works best with a dash mount, so it can take stable video. That also gives you the option to angle the phone's camera toward your window so the police officer can be seen on video as well.

Should you have to use the app, don't worry about the legality of filming the police. It's part of our First Amendment rights and is a powerful way to hold agents of the state accountable.

"In a public space, people are generally allowed to record on-duty police," Quinnan Law says. "The only requirements are that the person filming is also legally allowed to be in the same public space, the activity being filmed is in plain view, and the recording is not being conducted in secret."

One benefit of the app is that you can turn it on without using your hands. Police are often suspicious of the people they approach making sudden movements.

The process for setting up the Shortcuts function can be a little tricky, especially for people not used to diving into their phone settings. Vulture published a very straightforward explainer that walks you through the process in as simple to follow terms as possible:

"So, to get things up and working, you'll have to first make sure iOS is updated to at least iOS 12. Then, download the Shortcuts app which you can find here on the App store. After that's done, visit this link on your mobile device from the built-in Safari browser to set-up the shortcut. (Be careful: other browsers won't work!) You'll also need to make sure your phone can load unverified shortcuts (go to Settings > Shortcuts and toggle Allow Untrusted Shortcuts to allow this) and give the program access to your location, which you can see how to do here."


Step 5: Once it opens, scroll down and tap "Add Untrusted Shortcut."

Step 6: Choose a contact(s) for who you would like to send your location and a copy of the video recording to. Then tap done.

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