Amber Palm is the inventor of the Dash Pouch. The 17-year-old Baltimorean who is headed to Bowie State University in the fall invented a special pouch that holds a driver’s identification, registration, and an insurance card in one spot on the driver’s dashboard. Thus, no reaching is involved to pull the items out of a glove box, pocket or enclosure, which could be misinterpreted with law enforcement. Her target audience is African-American males and females who want to protect their loved ones, and themselves, from negative law enforcement interactions. The Dash Pouch is currently being sold online through Amber’s company, Palm & Co. COURTESY PHOTO: LEQUAN DIXON

Police traffic stops continue to be a sensitive topic for African Americans. Before the incident in Minnesota with George Floyd, many African-Americans could reflect upon the “classic talk” they received at home about how to safely deal with police encounters.

The death of Floyd at the hands of police while he was in police custody sparked strings of protests and calls for police reform. The unfortunate event also renewed concerns about how Black civilians should currently handle being stopped by the police. For individuals who strive to reduce the possibility of any misunderstandings, even showing the police requested items such as a driver’s license and registration or proof of insurance can be stressful. Avoiding sudden movements, while keeping their hands in plain view, can greatly influence the outcome of the interaction, when it comes to driving while Black.

Amber Palm, 17, recognized the need for more Black motorists to stay safe during routine traffic stops and to prevent the escalation of more serious or deadly situations. The recent graduate of City Neighbors High School who was raised in Baltimore developed a clever product, which bridges the gap between police safety and motorist interaction.

The tri-fold design looks similar to a wallet, but is measured to fit three critical documents, in preparation for a traffic stop. It’s designed to hold a driver’s identification, registration, and an insurance card in one spot on the dashboard of the car. Thus, no hands are required to pull the items out of a glove compartment, clothes pocket or enclosure, which could be misinterpreted by law enforcement.

“The name of the product is the Dash Pouch. The process is simple. All you have to do is take the anti-slip pad, which has two adhesive sides, and place it in the front of your car— preferably on the dashboard. Place the pouch on top of anti-slip pad, while the vehicle is in use. When it is not in use, remove the pouch and put it away, somewhere out of sight, preferably in the sun visor. The sun visor is more convenient. Even if you forget to place the pouch back on the pad, your hands still remain visible to an officer,” Amber said. “My inspiration behind my invention was mainly the Philando Castile situation, the young man that lost his life while being pulled over, because he had to reach for documentation. Knowing this, I feared for my loved ones, when they leave out the house to drive knowing that a traffic stop could lead to a tragic event. I wanted to do my best to prevent and protect. Also, the device can be used to make the officer and driver feel safe.”

Amber’s company, Palm & Co. was founded in 2018. The teen’s loved ones inspired her to invent something that makes them feel more comfortable while driving, and also helps to protect them. Her product was officially launched in February this year. The ambitious Baltimorean is still trying to get the word out about her invention. To date, she has received over 50 orders from Maryland, Georgia, South Carolina and Hawaii.