A new smartphone app will allow users to rate and review Chicago police officers.
Channing Harris, the son of a police officer, said he created the “Excuse Me Officer” app so the public could post positive and negative interactions with police.
“If Yelp only had bad reviews, no one would use it,” Harris said. “You can put in your zip code … [and] see 82 different heroic actions have happened in your community … or you can look it up and say, ‘Oh my god, there’s a lot of sexual harassment happening in my area. As a concerned citizen, I should look into that.’ ”
The app will allow people to rate officers using a star system and filter posts under headings like “heroic cop,” “good cop,” “bad cop,” “sexual harassment,” “racial discrimination” and “LGBT complaint,” Harris said.
The reviews will be displayed alongside public investigation records from the Independent Police Review Authority and the Chicago Police Department, Harris said.
Harris said the app plans to have more than 300,000 records by the end of 2017.
“We’re going to try to be as real-time as possible,” Harris said.
Harris, 26, said “Excuse Me Officer” grew out of a community Facebook page he created in 2015, around the time the Laquan McDonald dashcam videos were released. That Facebook page now has more than 3,000 likes.
Harris said the “Excuse Me Officer” team understands the importance of policing but wants to holds cops accountable. Two other members of the team are related to police officers, he said.
On Oct. 6, “Excuse Me Officer” won South Side Pitch, an entrepreneurship competition hosted by the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Law School. The victory came with a $4,000 cash prize.
The app is scheduled to be released Dec. 5.
A representative from the Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge 7 did not respond to requests for comment.
Claire Donnelly is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow her @_clairetweets.