The controversy surrounding police-involved shootings nearly reached a breaking point last year with the death of Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Minnesota. That incident is still under investigation, but one Delaware man hopes his invention can prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
The License, Registration, and Insurance Safety Wallet (LRI) stores a driver’s necessary information in a plastic sleeve that attaches to the driver’s sun visor. Its inventor, Rahim El, hopes that allowing the driver to keep his or her hands on the steering wheel will prevent any misunderstandings during traffic stops.
“Traffic stops are very stressful for both police and the public because of what can happen to a law enforcement officer or what can happen to you from that one rogue cop,” El told Delaware Online. “And that’s why LRI Safety Wallet is needed. It neutralizes both of those issues.”
“People today are fearful of being stopped by law enforcement,” he continued. “But you don’t have to be scared; you need to be prepared.”
Essentially, the LRI gives drivers a way to access their driver’s license without reaching into their pocket.
“When the officer approaches your window, all of your identification is right there, and you can keep your hands on the wheel,” El said. “That way there is no confusion from the driver reaching in their pocket or glove box.”
While there is no substitute for courtesy and common sense, the invention has gained the support of law enforcement.
“This is something I believe the city and the department of police can and will support,” Bobby (CJ) Cummings, Chief of Police for the City of Wilmington, Delaware, said in a press release.
“I spent four years with the Dallas Police Department and conducted thousands of traffic stops so this product makes complete sense to me for civilian use,” added Justin Thomas, a member of PoliceOne.com.
Not all law enforcement officials are entirely supportive, however. Fred Calhoun, the president of the Delaware Order of Fraternal Police told Delaware Online that the LRI wallet can’t take the place of a polite demeanor. “Everyone wants some kind of device when what we really need as a society is simple communication between individuals,” he said.
The wallet attaches to the driver’s side sun visor via a Velcro strip. Users “activate” the wallet by lowering the sun visor and allowing the wallet to unfold, revealing all the necessary documents.
Ultimately, Rahim El explained, the LRI Safety Wallet is designed to help improve the strained relationship between law enforcement and citizens. “The mission of LRI Safety Wallet,” he said, “is to foster principles bringing community and trust between citizens and law enforcement officers with every useful product we design.”