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Transparency in Police Interactions is Goal of New Startup

MobilEyes App Expected to Be Available Soon...Crowdfunding Campaign Just Launched


JUN 25, 2024


The need for even more transparency and accountability by police departments around the country was thrust back into the spotlight recently with a Department of Justice report showing that the Phoenix Police Department violated civil rights, discriminated against people of color and used excessive force.

An Alaskan entrepreneur thinks he might have a tool to re-frame the paradigm of police-citizen interactions by putting power into the hands of the people, thereby leveling the playing field with officers.

Charles Morey's company MobilEyes plans to launch an app within the next two months.

The app will ultimately give individuals resources and information about law enforcement personnel they encounter in their day-to-day lives.

And, the company also plans to give law enforcement its own resources — including mental health, community outreach and other training, with the goal of enhancing police interactions.

The overarching goal of the company is to promote a policing model focused on community outreach and preventative measures — specifically, preventing civil rights infringements, racial profiling and police brutality, founder/CEO Charles Morey told inter-TECH-ion. 

"MobilEyes is not just about technology," Morey said, adding that it’s about creating change “in order to create a broader social impact by addressing economic and societal issues.”

Those include the goals of reducing litigation costs associated with police misconduct, improving the quality of communities by enhancing police relations and addressing the key pain 

points that officers face throughout their careers.

It also includes promoting economic stability through lower insurance premiums since police departments typically carry high-risk insurance.

Foundation 

Morey is the founder of MobilEyes. It’s his first entrepreneurial endeavor.

He created the company in late 2022, with HQ in Cheyenne, WY. He resides in Alaska. 

There are two employees — a COO and a “master developer.”

Morey was catalyzed to create a tool to give interactions with law enforcement more transparency based on several 

factors, including his concern about potential corruption — corruption he felt would be caused by the defunding of various police departments around the country, he said.

Other motivating factors included diminished community trust and loss of lives — like the murder of George Floyd by a Minnesota 

police officer.

He also wanted to alleviate societal and economic strains. The former includes the issue of some people being afraid to call their local police department because of a lack of trust, because they’re afraid they’ll wrongly be put in jail, Morey said.

Economic strains MobilEyes is addressing include what Morey calls “inefficient management practices,” i.e. unlawful detainments.

MobilEyes' website is currently accepting signups for a pre-download list for its upcoming app. It expects to launch the app within the next two months.

So far, MobilEyes has accumulated 10,000 signups on its pre-download list, Morey told inter-TECH-ion.

Funding 

MobilEyes recently launched a Kickstarter campaign, with a goal of raising $5,000. 

Before that, the company had not received any external funding or investments, Morey told inter-TECH-ion. 

Morey emphasized that he has personally financed MobilEyes using his own resources, which involved liquidating assets and “making 

personal sacrifices,” such as cutting back on expenses. 

"I have committed all my resources to this endeavor," he said, estimating that he’s bootstrapped the company with approximately $300,000.

Ultimately, he plans to open a Series A round. 

How it Works 

When available, the MobilEyes app is expected to contain features like the ability to document interactions with police officers. Also, look for a livestreaming function, so users can "effortlessly" record encounters and share them in real time, Morey said.

Another plan is to provide live lawyer access, which would connect users to legal professionals at the click of a button, he added. This feature has not been finalized yet, so no word on who these lawyers will be, or how they will be paid – whether they will work pro bono for MobilEyes or be funded by insurance providers.

Once launched, the app’s CopWatch tab is expected to enable users to document each encounter. Those reports would then be on display on officers’ profiles for the public to review. 

This negates citizens from having to go to their local police departments to file reports, Morey said, as they would also be sent directly to police departments.

“It also provides the analytics that the (city) government needs to make its police force more efficient,” he added.

Users will also be able to rate officers after each encounter, with the ratings being displayed on their profiles. The profiles would also show if the officers are involved in litigation. 

Law enforcement will have access to their individual profiles. And, if an officer receives a negative report of infringement or another complaint —whether they are ultimately found guilty or not — MobilEyes will provide them with ways to improve their ratings and become eligible for funding, Morey told inter-TECH-ion.

“It's important to note that these ratings are not permanently affixed to an officer's profile until they have been thoroughly analyzed for validity by our legal professionals,” Morey explained. “We prioritize fairness for the officers, ensuring that ratings accurately reflect their conduct, rather than being influenced by personal biases. Our platform maintains a strict policy on integrity, both in how officers are treated and how they are rated.

And, the app plans to have a biometric security feature that would make it so any livestream could not be terminated without the user's thumbprint or code, "providing an additional layer of protection and accountability," Morey said. 

The app will be “affordable for everyone,” Morey said.  

Ratings Used as Benchmarks

The ratings feature on the app would be used as a benchmark to illustrate which police departments are showing a "true initiative" toward better policing, Morey said.

“This initiative allows the user's voice to be heard, and meant for something, as the ratings are how we determine where to send our allocated funding," Morey said.

The funding he’s referring to would eventually come from various revenue streams MobilEyes accumulates, Morey told inter-TECH-ion. 

Plus, Morey plans to collaborate with nonprofits and companies in alignment with his mission, to address the same issues, and “even provide more funding for areas that need it most within each department,” he said.

Data Analytics

Morey said he worked to fill the “critical” gaps identified in data about law enforcement practices. 

To that end, MobilEyes integrates "advanced” analytics to provide the “much-needed” statistical insights that the government “lacks or that have been compromised,” he added.

In terms of data being “compromised,” Morey said he’s referring to statistics on the amount of reports filed on the behavior of police officers around the country.

Reportedly, he explained, only 1% of all licensed drivers have filed misconduct reports on the national police officer population.

He believes this number is higher, “more realistically around 3% to 6%,” he said.

So, MobilEyes aims to use its technology and data collection tools to fill in these gaps, striving to “guarantee the integrity and accuracy of available data,” he added.

Data collected would also be made available to the public, policymakers and high-risk insurance providers . 

Comprehensive Platform

The website part of the platform will serve as the analytical side, available for police departments, and expected to house a “vast array” of training modules, mental health resources, and a “Community Outreach Project.”

This project incorporates MobilEyes’ national mission for law enforcement to reach out to communities to gain their trust.

Psychological Impact

Policing, more than many careers, tends to have a psychological effect on officer's day-to-day lives.

They are put in fight-or-flight situations, “which stresses the psyche and causes their empathy to diminish, due to the amount of negativity that officers deal with,” Morey said.

“This heightened state could cause misconduct or civil rights violations against the community, along with the potential of suicidal or homicidal thoughts,” he added.

To that end, mental health resources include, "The Hero Hotline," expected to be a confidential service offering “immediate” mental support to officers experiencing emotional turmoil and other stress. 

Morey envisions this future hotline as a mainly volunteer program, comprised of on duty and retired police officers, whom he says, “will gladly take the call to help a fellow brother dealing with some mental health related issues.” 

“The thing is that they all deal with it, and it’s sort of this silent killer, in a sense, that these officers feel embarrassed to even mention it.” Morey said. “So this is a strictly confidential program that won’t use names.”

Police Pushback?

Regarding pushback from any police departments, Morey said he has not gotten any so far.

That being said, he’s “been very low key and strategic” about where he’s been promoting the upcoming app due to “corruption in certain areas that I am aware of,” he said.

“There are hundreds of thousands of honorable cops out there that don’t go out of their way to infringe on someone’s rights over an act of pride or assertion of their power,” he said. “They got in the job to make a difference and become a hero in their community, and they frankly have got the opposite, and the perception by the community has made it rather tough for those officers out there making a difference.” 

Because of that, MobilEyes plans to showcase these “hero” officers and reward them directly for their efforts to make the community better.


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