AUSTIN (KXAN) — Like many Black Americans, the death of Philando Castile was a wake-up call for Jackie Carter.
“Philando’s last words before he died were ‘I wasn’t reaching’,” Carter says. “That day, I felt like Philando was my son. It was like, ‘This is ridiculous. We have to do something.'”
A month later, Carter created the Alliance for Safe Traffic Stops. “The sole purpose is to find solutions to de-escalate traffic stops and eliminate any physical harm.”
The Alexandria, Virginia-based group is doing this a few ways. One way, VR training, teaches teen drivers how to approach a stop. Another, being developed in Austin, is a drone that can help police detect weapons.
“We call it proactive compliance. If we do the stuff on the front end, we won’t have as much stuff to do on the back end.”
One of Carter’s most important initiatives may be one of the most simple. “When I spoke with officers, I asked what is it that causes this and they said it’s the reaching. So I called it not reaching.”
Carter developed a clear pouch she calls “Not Reaching.” It clips to a car’s driver-side air vent. Drivers can store their license, ID and insurance inside the pouch. It’s small, just a little bigger than the size of your palm, but it’s a pouch Carter believes could save lives.
“When an officer is approaching your vehicle, you’re no longer reaching or moving.”
Carter hopes to partner with school districts and police departments across the country to continue to educate new drivers before they hit the road.