Over the years I have had several interesting interactions with law enforcement regarding use of scanners.
While returning back to Tucson Arizona from Nogales Arizona/Mexico late one evening I proceed thru the permanent border patrol check point that has been set up 10 miles or so North of the Mexico border. Back then US Customs and US Border Patrol were fully in the clear and they were an awesome listen. I always had a scanner locked on their channels 24/7. I drove into the checkpoint and had forgotten to turn the scanners down like I usually do in that situation. Right as the agent leaned down to ask the usual `US Citizen' question, both his handheld and my scanner both went off, and my scanner was louder than his handheld. He reacted with a chuckle and asked why I was listening to them and laughed when I told him that I enjoyed the adventures they got into.
I was driving a little hatchback and had the back seat folded down and the back was full of computer merchandise that I had picked up earlier in the day, so he asked if he could check under the blankets covering the inside of the back of he hatchback. Turned out he owned a Commodore computer and the back of the car was full of Commodore goodies. I ended up with a good customer out of the interaction as he lived fairly close in Tucson to where the store I managed was located.
In the late 90's into about 2008 I was a stringer news videographer on the weekends here in the Phoenix Arizona area and I used to chase news for all the television stations here in the area. One evening I was sitting a few blocks away from an active barricaded subject call waiting for a good time (since the subject was actively shooting at the time) to move up to the perimeter for video. One of the outer perimeter patrol units drove by my antenna laden pickup and I heard him call the sergeant and took him off to another channel and I herd him describe my truck and ask the sergeant if he felt that he should check me out further. The sergeant told him not to worry about me since he knew I was media and all I was waiting for was for them to shoot somebody. A few minutes later I saw the sergeant drive by my location, he waved and flashed his overhead lights as he passed my truck and we both got a good laugh later on at the scene. The subject had decided to turn himself in without further incident and it turned into a non story as far as the stations cared.
Another evening I was sitting back from a possible house fire when a couple of officers walked by my vehicle. A rookie officer was quite taken by the radio stack (I think I was running about 8 radios that night along with a laptop in a pedestal mount running video editing software). He was about to get in my face when his training officer stepped in and said "Hi Roy, what's up?" Rookie realized that it wasn't going to be a good idea to get into it about the radios and commented to the training officer that I had more equipment then they had. The training officer had a simple response... "How do you think he gets to some scenes before we do?" :)
In the 12-13 years that I chased weekend news I really never had any negative encounters regarding radios, being there sometimes was another story better left alone sometimes.
I really enjoyed chasing news with a scanner and have made some lifelong friends with many in the law enforcement, fire services and media during my time chasing. I know it had to make my neigbors a bit curious seeing a live truck sitting in my driveway with its mast up feeding video when they wanted video faster than I could drive it into a station. Good times.
Roy Schahrer N7QYK
And I LOVE a good pursuit anytime, any day. :)