Raheem
Overview
Raheem is a platform for anonymously reporting and reviewing police interactions — both positive and negative. Raheem collects your stories about what happens with police to build a public way to see what's happening in communities. Think WAZE for police behavior: an interactive map of police interactions reported by real people, in real-time.
Role
I have been involved with many different aspects of Raheem, including overall product strategy, bot development, and dashboard design and development. Currently, I am working on story development for our upcoming product video and leading our information visualization team.
Process
01 - Making Change
Police interactions have been in the news a lot lately and, in many cases, the stories are far from uplifting. This problem is often categorized as “isolated,” “just a few officers,” etc., but it seems to be more widespread than that. For the interactions that do not go viral (and even for those that do), reporting the interaction is difficult, time consuming, and sometimes traumatic for the citizen. Raheem aims to humanize this reporting process, encourage more people to submit reports, and aggregate the data into a usable dashboard for citizens and city officials.
02 - Introducing Raheem
Raheem is a Facebook Messenger bot for reporting and reviewing police interactions. Through simple conversation, he get information on what happened, where it happened, how you felt, who the officers were, and more. The purpose is to humanize the reporting process and to make people feel safe and comfortable while submitting their reports. Once submitted, data will be aggregated into a dashboard that both citizens and public officials can use to observe the police climate in a given area.
03 - Let's Chat About It
Originally, Raheem was a simple webform. The form was effective, but also cold, time consuming, and did not adapt to the user’s situation. We explored many platforms, but settled on a messenger bot for three reasons: the low barrier to entry, the humanized interface, and the ability to create a reactive conversation.
A Low Barrier to Entry
Millions of people are on Facebook now, and a majority of those users also utilize Facebook Messenger on a daily basis. Given this, it is significantly more likely that someone will engage with Raheem through a simple message – involving no additional downloads or effort – than that someone will download an app or go to our website. Messenger bots and conversational UIs are still in their infancy, so we absolutely are taking a leap of faith here, but we believe it will pay off.

A Humanized Interface
Talking to Raheem is like talking to a friend. He is encouraging, supportive, and respectful while asking about your interactions. We specifically designed the tone of the bot to be colloquial and informal to give users a sense of safety and familiarity. Through our earlier user testing, we found there is a massive difference between, “What happened?” and “Please describe the details of your encounter.”

A Reactive Conversation
Raheem is smart. Really smart. As users navigate the conversation, he can determine if the interaction went positively or negatively and asks follow-up questions accordingly. This nature adds to the humanization of the interface: not only is Raheem talking to you, but he’s listening to you as well.
04 - A Nationwide Team
Our team is spread across the country, so collaboration and communication is key. I have never worked on such a dispersed team before and it is a fantastic learning experience to see how the leaders prioritize and delegate tasks. Every person on the team is volunteering their time on top of their own 40-hour-a-week jobs.
05 - Public Beta and Beyond
We are currently in a public beta, looking for 2000 people to test Raheem in the first quarter of 2017. In the first few weeks, the beta has already given us amazing insight into how real people react to Raheem and what bottlenecks, bugs, and problems exist in the conversation. In the coming months, we plan to launch Raheem publicly, starting with a few university partnerships and expanding out from there.

For more details or to join the beta, visit raheem.ai.