Excuse Me Officer Re-launches to Help Communities Gather Information about Police Interactions
Excuse Me Officer (XMO) is a digital police accountability database developed to provide individuals who have interacted with police officers a safe space to share their stories. Through straightforward and anonymous documentation, the online platform hopes to provide a transparent portrait of how police officers interact with communities and highlight their heroic efforts.
The idea for XMO began in 2014, after the killing of 17-year old LaQuan McDonald by a member of the Chicago Police Department. McDonald was shot 16 times, and protests erupted in Chicago following his murder, with civilians calling for an end to police brutality. Although a report from the Inspector General of the City of Chicago alleged that 16 officers attempted to cover up the shooting, only the officer who shot Laquan McDonald was convicted. Jason Van Dyke was charged with second-degree murder after a court ordered the release of dashcam video footage.
Watching this story unfold, XMO founder Channing Harris was convinced that the full story of policing wasn’t being told. Harris wanted to create a space where people could document their encounters with police without repercussions. The son of a law enforcement member, Harris was inspired to create a confidential platform where stories regarding both problematic and heroic police interactions could be shared. Re-launching November 30th, Excuse Me Officer (XMO) is the result of more than five years of dedicated work. The online platform has already collected years of information and reviews on police interactions in different communities around the United States.
Excuse Me Officer (XMO) allows users to report both positive and negative interactions with law enforcement. Text and video can be uploaded by those who were directly involved or witnessed the interaction via a secure online portal. All reporting remains anonymous, and information about the user and the officers involved is kept private.
The goal of XMO is to create an unbiased platform that tells varied stories of police encounters in an effort to help eliminate problematic policing. The platform also wants to highlight ways in which police help their communities in heroic ways.
Empowering communities with information can help them better understand the policing practices in their neighborhood. With this knowledge, they can actively work with local politicians and public service organizations to enact change when and where needed. According to a 2020 Gallup Poll, “94% of Americans say policing needs changes, including an increased focus on police accountability and community relations.”
The information collected on the XMO platform can also help law enforcement agencies improve and enhance their training programs. According to the Excuse Me Officer manifest, “individual transgressions are individual concerns, but systemic problems need to be addressed by the collective.”
Harris hopes that XMO will add transparency and accountability to all law enforcement agencies. He also hopes to highlight the “heroic acts performed by officers in the line of duty. According to Harris, Excuse Me Officer “can recognize behavioral trends and recognize where to allocate appropriate training, punishment or praise within the police department.”
For more information, visit www.excusemeofficer.com.