Caleb, Ima, Joshua, and Asha Christian Pine Tart

Four "solution-focused" siblings are launching Five-O, an app to share and rate experiences with law enforcement. 

Like everyone else in America, Ima Christian has been nervously watching the news unfold in Ferguson, Missouri. The 16-year-old resident of Stone Mountain, Georgia, says that she and her siblings have been in constant conversation with their parents about the recent deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner (who died last month in Staten Island) at the hands of police.  

"Our parents try to put everything in context for us," Christian says. "They try to tell us to focus on solutions." 

So they decided to build their own answer to police abuse. On Monday, Ima Christian (pictured, second from left) and her siblings—principally Caleb, 14, and Asha, 15, with the support of Joshua, 10—are launching a beta version of Five-O, an app that will enable users to rate their interactions with police and view aggregate scores for how law-enforcement agencies fare.

"As soon as we decided that we wanted to make an app, we threw the idea on the white board," she says. 

Here's how Five-O works: Users log in to a dashboard, where they have several options. A Five-O user can create a detailed incident report and rate the professionalism and courtesy of the officer, using an A-F scale. Or they can view police stations by county or state to see how various departments rate. (Those A-F officer interaction scores are averaged out on a 4.0 scale—like a GPA for the fuzz.)

The app also allows people to post messages to a community board. There's another function called "Know Your Rights," a Q&A-formatted feature, "so you have your rights at your fingertips at any moment," Christian says. The family drew the information from the American Civil Liberties Union. 

Christian, a senior at Parkview High School, credits her brother Caleb for the idea to create an app for rating police interactions. They decided early on in the project planning stages that Five-O would focus on the good as well as the bad.

"I haven't really heard of issues happening in Stone Mountain of the scale of what's in the news," she says. "I do have relatives who have had negative interactions with police." She says that friends of the family include police officers, who offer a friendlier model for police interactions. "This is an app to offer up positive experiences. They can be an example." 

This is the Christian family's first app release, but it's unlikely to be their last. Ima and her siblings are aggressive students of programming, especially for a mobile environment. She and her siblings Asha and Caleb have participated in programs such as MIT's +K12Scratch, and App Inventor programs. Ima and Asha Christian are both executive team members in the ProjectCSGirls computer science competition. And they were both 2014 #Include Fellows in the She++ program. Ima is a Codecademy alum as well, and has done coding programs through Stanford.

Stanford, incidentally, is Ima's reach school—she's also got her sights set on Washington University in St. Louis, Brown, and Columbia—and the graduating senior has also done work at her top in-state choice, the Georgia Institute of Technology. (Ima's siblings could not be reached for comment, as they were not yet home from school.)

Following Monday's beta launch for Five-O, the Christian siblings are continuing work on two more projects: Coily, a review app for hair-care products for black girls and women, and Froshly, an app to facilitate meetings for in-bound college pre-freshmen, "so they can greet each other before they meet each other in school." The Christian siblings started a company, Pine Tart, Inc., to advance their work.

"We don't have any institutional support right now," Ima Christian says. "It's just us. We're our own team."

H/t Forharriet.com

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Bicycle riders on a package-blocked bicycle lane
    Perspective

    Why Do Micromobility Advocates Have Tiny-Demand Syndrome?

    In the 1930s big auto dreamed up freeways and demanded massive car infrastructure. Micromobility needs its own Futurama—one where cars are marginalized.

  2. a photo of Extinction Rebellion climate change protesters in London
    Environment

    When Climate Activists Target Public Transit

    The climate protest movement Extinction Rebellion is facing a backlash after disrupting commuters on the London Underground.

  3. a photo of a WeWork office building
    Life

    What WeWork’s Demise Could Do to NYC Real Estate

    The troubled coworking company is the largest office tenant in New York City. What happens to the city’s commercial real estate market if it goes under?

  4. a photo of a NYC bus
    Transportation

    Why the Bus Got So Bad, and How to Save It

    TransitCenter’s Steven Higashide has created a how-to guide to help city leaders and public transportation advocates save struggling bus systems.

  5. A photo of an abandoned building in Providence, Rhode Island.
    Perspective

    There's No Such Thing as a Dangerous Neighborhood

    Most serious urban violence is concentrated among less than 1 percent of a city’s population. So why are we still criminalizing whole areas?

×