MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An organization known for protecting people’s rights will unveil a new tool it says will hold police officers accountable.

The American Civil Liberties Union will launch its “Mobile Justice App” in Minnesota Friday. The technology allows users to instantly send video of police interactions to the ACLU.

Law enforcement has become a job where every move is recorded and reviewed. Now, a new app aims to capture even more.

“We train our officers to act like they’re on camera all the time,” Lt. Bob Kroll from the Minneapolis Police Department said.

The Presidents of the Minneapolis and St. Paul Police Federations don’t see the video portion of the ACLU’s app as a problem — it’s the “witness” option they say has the potential to be dangerous.

The witness option shows ACLU mobile justice users where a police stop is taking place and alerts nearby people to come to the scene, perhaps putting victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in the spotlight.

Dave Titus is the St. Paul Police Federation President.

“Here, this act will not discriminate if somebody pushes it,” Titus said. “It’s going to send people flocking to that scene, and sometimes that scene is still going to be hot.”

The ACLU declined to comment ahead of Friday’s official launch.

The app also allows users to fill out an incident report, and allows people to read up on their rights when approached by police. In his work, Attorney Mike Padden has seen before how crucial video can be.

“It’s technology that has allowed people to realize in certain situations the conduct of officers in the field,” Padden said.

He doesn’t see app users showing up at scenes but police are worried they’ll become the target.

“It isn’t responsible,” Titus said.

“In a perfect world, everyone complies with what they’re told to do or what they’re requested to do and no force will be used,” Lt. Kroll said, “but our job gets ugly sometimes.”

Minneapolis Police patrol officers will all be equipped with body cameras next year. St. Paul Police will have them by 2017. This ACLU app has already launched in other states across the country.

Liz Collin

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