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ACLU of Texas launches smartphone app, aims to promote examples of model policing

The ACLUBlue app is available for both Android and iPhone.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas launched a smartphone app called “ACLUBlue” last Friday to expose misconduct by law enforcement and promote examples of model policing across the state.

ACLU of Texas Deputy Director Cheryl Newcomb says the app helps give Texans a voice.

"We have seen in the last couple of years some very horrible incidents, interactions with police officers that have left people dead or harmed,” Newcomb said. “Some of those have been recorded and gone viral.”

The app will continue to record even when a smartphone is locked. If the smartphone turns off, a copy of what is recorded through the app will automatically be uploaded to a community hub, according to Newcomb.

“So, even in the event your phone is confiscated, which it shouldn't be, it's legal to record police interactions--especially in public spaces,” said Newcomb.

Palmview Police Captain Saul Uvalle says the department will often review officer’s bodycam footage and videos from the public to see what his officers are doing on the job. Uvalle says an officer was cleared of a reported wrongdoing after the officer’s bodycam footage was reviewed.

"The officer was allegedly very confrontational with the subject,” Uvalle said. “Once we saw the video, it turned out to be anything but such. We asked the person to formally file a complaint. We had video of that situation, but that person failed to come in.”

Newcomb says the app can be used to film any kind of law enforcement, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

"We see a lot of issues that happen at the border,” said Newcomb. “If there is an over aggressive response or over militarized response, those are things we might want to record and document.”

The ACLUBlue app is available for both Android and iPhone.

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