Tech startup TurnSignl has created an application to defuse encounters between motorists and police.
The Minneapolis-based company recently launched the app in Georgia and has nearly a dozen attorneys hired to advise drivers on how to interact with law enforcement if they are stopped during a road control.
Founded by Mychal Frelix, Andre Creighton and Jazz Hampton in 2020, the TurnSignl app connects the user to a lawyer by phone and also records the encounter with the police. The lawyer provides real-time legal advice to the user when interacting with law enforcement.
Hampton said he and his partners created the app after seeing several traffic stops go wrong, including Philandro Castille, who was shot seven times at close range in his car by a Saint Paul police officer. Hampton went to school with Castile.
With the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other high-profile incidents, the co-founders knew this had to be part of a solution. All three left full-time tech jobs to build TurnSignl and the company now employs a dozen people.
“We created the TurnSignl app to bridge a communication gap, protect the civil rights of drivers and make sure everyone comes home safely,” said Hampton.
He was quick to point out that TurnSignl is not a “police surveillance” app. “We sat down with the police to make sure they feel good about this app because it’s for them too. We also want officers to feel safe when approaching a car. “
Hampton said recruiting lawyers had been easier than expected. “They are thrilled to be a part of it and have contacted us to be part of the team.”
With TurnSignl now in Georgia, efforts are underway to educate state law enforcement officials about the app.
An officer can ask a motorist to put their phone away or turn off their phone, and Hampton said the driver should let the agent know they are using the app and disagree, but that he has to follow the commands.
TurnSignl is growing in popularity in Minnesota, where iHeartRadio has just released the app to all of its employees. Subscriptions cost $ 6.99 per month or $ 60 per year, but those who can’t afford it will still be able to download and use the app.
Subscribers receive a sticker for their vehicle, which Hampton says will also alert an approaching police officer that the driver has the app.
Hampton said TurnSignl also hopes to partner with historically black colleges and universities to offer the app to students at low cost or for free.
Rollout of the app will continue nationwide with Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia and California next on the list.