Uber for police doesn’t seem to make much sense, right? After all, the police are a governmental force, and unless we have complete anarchy, the police force probably should not be run by private citizens. Unless of course it is more of a security/bodyguard service.
Having said that, there seems to be at least two services out there which fit the Uber for police bill. Additionally, Uber itself made the news cycle in regard to police evasion, which we discuss below.
French Quarter Task Force: Mobile App for Crime Reduction
We know – the term ‘Uber for police’ is a slightly concerning phrase, but allow us to explain. Crime reporting is no longer a monopoly of news reporters. The French Quarter Task Force is an innovative app that allows a regular citizen of French Quarter to report any crime or suspicious activities to the local Police Department by tapping few buttons on his/her smartphone. Users can not only share crime events but also share crime photos at a snap of a button.
Off-duty police officers are paid $50/hour to jump into the scene and take necessary action. Often referred as the “Uber for cops,” the community policing app aims on making French Quarter safe for tourists as well as local residents.
Namola: Alert Your Nearest Police Officers
Namola is an innovative safety and crime reporting app that adopts a unique approach to South Africa’s crime issues. Basically, it uses technology to alert the nearest police station, whenever one needs any kind of assistance. When a user opens the app and clicks on “Get Armed Response” button, an alert is sent to at least three nearby police vehicles. The first respondent is shown the photo and name of the user.
The GPS is also activated to make the police vehicle aware of the user’s location in emergency situations. After meeting initial success, Namola is looking to spread all over South Africa to empower citizens like never before.
Greyball: The Opposite of Uber for Police
The two Uber for police apps above are used for alerting police officers when they are needed at a moment’s notice. Ironically, Uber itself has devised a way to evade these same police officers.
Greyball is the name of Uber’s secret software to outsmart police and law enforcement. The secret software allowed Uber drivers to operate in areas where they were not licensed to work by identifying local officials who were meant to stop them. The software showed officials the wrong locations of drivers when they were operating on non-official areas.
As expected, this has contributed to Uber’s recent troubles. Formal charges are pressed on Uber for the use of this tool. To its defense, Uber stated that the software was intended for legitimate use such as denying rides to deceitful users or individuals who intend to harm their drivers.