#Behind the Badge

In Stanford's ME 216A: Advanced Needfinding, I was paired with Sonim, a cell phone company that has built an indestructible phone. The goal was to look at a user and design specifically for them. My team decided to look at police officers because they work under extreme conditions.

Our team performed 8 interviews with officers across the country and went on ride alongs to truly understand what it meant to be a cop. We then took these observations and found common themes that each of us saw in our interviews.


We found that police have to compartmentalize many of their emotions and this has worked its way into the way they do everything including how they use their communication tools. The radio is solely for interacting within the police force while the cell phone is strictly for outside of police communication. This harsh compartmentalization of their emotions such as fear and sadness has caused them to look inhuman to the outside world.


Design Principles

We found several principles that our product needed to fit into to be useful to Cops:


1) Fit into the existing uniform and convey professionalism
2) Create a visual form to show officers’ individuality
3) Be permanent and easily seen by any onlooker
4) Show vulnerability with minimal effort
5) Show the human behind the uniform


Our solution comes in 3 parts: Community, Individuality, and Vulnerability.

Community: We designed an app that scrapes data from Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter to find events where cops can be helpful.

Individuality: Instead of a Logo we have personalized attachments that fit into the back of every phone that can show a little about who the cop is.

Vulnerability: We designed an ad campaign that shows the many sides of police that would use real officers and show who they really are.

Written Report Link: