Re: crypto comm
Nope. I don't buy it. Not for a minute.
I've listened in for decades also (started WAY back when the
local PD was just above the AM broadcast band). Then I got in the
fire side of the business as a career (34 years). In that we
worked closely with various LE agencies, none of which comms were
scrambled or encrypted; even when we migrated to trunked P25
(except fire ground ops, for that we used simplex, non-trunked
P25, that was far more reliable than waiting for the controller to
allow us to talk in an emergent situation).
Now that I've retired, I still like to know what is going on around me, from both my background and wanting situational awareness. It's more than knowing if the highway is shut down and traffic stopped. It's just part of me; wanting to know about the environments around me just like we did at work, to jump on calls faster than dispatch handoff allowed. It's not being nosy or paranoid at all, it's being aware.
Some officers WILL act out (it's very rare) AND be on the radio.
Not surprisingly, they're shortly gone from the agency (as is
proper). Stupid is as stupid does, they're gone quickly.
The ONLY places where encryption is really needed is for grouped
sensitive information, like the SWAT team about to make entry into
a potentially dangerous structure (or similar). 99% of the daily
traffic is simply BORING on LE (traffic stops, domestic issues,
warrant serving, whining residents, barking dogs). For the things
that ARE sensitive, encrypt or use cell phones, the vast majority
I'm not a fan of 'media' either, they do tend to get in the way
(and can then be arrested for interfering with the duties of the
attending staff), but they AND THE PUBLIC DO absolutely
have a right to know what is going on around them in public
agencies. The courts have upheld this several times over; public
agency = public dollars = public right to know without a FOIA
filing, listening in is permitted (with limitations, most of them
Develop a relationship with the media and they'll learn they can
get what they need, without being in the way, when you're done
managing the scene (or at a lull in the action). Educate the
media which can also benefit the agency when help is needed
(budget need, BOLO or similar; they tell your story better, having
some background knowledge that you've given them). If your media
is a low life root weevil, encourage the LE at your scene to 'slow
their access' until the job is done (verify the credentials; that
takes a few minutes at least).
If you don't want your neighbors to know you're getting arrested,
don't do anything illegal and stupid.
If you don't want them to know you're stopped for speeding AGAIN, slow down!
At the least it tells them when/if to add to their own security
and know what kind of neighbors/town they have. If it's a medical
aid or fire, they'd want to be there at least offer help. That's
what neighbors do (at least in this part of the world). In either
case, unless SWAT opened the door, it's the public right to know.
So you're mistaken on the legality, but not listening is also your choice. I choose to be informed.
Encryption also complicates inter-agency access
(interoperability), required by Federal law. In the middle of an
extended pursuit or major bust; encryption has caused
communication failures (even with the 'secret back door' into P25
networks). I live between two states, each thirty miles away in
opposite directions, it's not unheard of to involve all three
states in a major chase BUT each agency has been successful
because none of them encrypt. A couple local LE do and have to go
to unencrypted 'channels' to communicate with others. That just
adds delay into the process, often unacceptably.
For clarity, I (and a few other locals) post/transcribe (non-LE, non-medical UNLESS it affects public access) events to a public safety group, in real time so others in the area (local only) can also be aware without the cost of buying a scanner. BUT the difference there is that no names are ever used, no specifics about injuries and much of it is generalized AND explained because I have the background (have degrees in fire and LE and experience) so this informs AND generates more support for all the agencies in the area (many of which are volunteer). If the public has access to what the "SMITH FD" is doing to protect and serve (in a positive light), they're more likely to chip in at benefits or fund raising.
It means I can apply my training and experience while still
giving something to the community I'm a part of, but without
further risk to the body parts that still function. ;-) Creative writing
isn't allowed (I can make educated guesses) and is quickly removed
if presented; comments are kept appropriate as well. This keeps
the written 'noise' low for simpler reader participation.
This is entirely legal and well in 'the safe zone" because it's
well filtered; the public is informed enough to be safer and it's
generic (but being small towns, it doesn't take them long to find
out more than what is posted, we just don't confirm or deny until
the public agency has posted in more detail). Others with
scanners know the 'inside scoop' and keep quiet or chime in. In
just over a year, about 5-8% of the local (mostly very rural) area
subscribes. They really want to know more quickly in 'fire
season' since the resources of the LE (as an example) are too
limited to get everyone notified if an evacuation is happening.
Nixle or similar just take too long because staff is dealing with
the emergent event and simply don't have the time at first. Or
they just want to know so they can adjust their travel timing;
will the school buses be on time or similar.
It truly does open the door for neighbor helping neighbor; the
outpouring is both sincere and rapid. I'm in awe every time it
If everything heard on a scanner was posted (some 90% of all FD
tone outs are medical in nature, therefore not posted, a small
percentage is ag/forest burning this time of year; also ignored),
I'd never sleep and the average reader would be bored to tears and
leave. After listening for decades, scanner chatter may be
constantly running in the background (4 scanners scattered around
the house, all kept low volume) but I won't actively hear it
unless it is within the area I want to know about AND it will
cause the public (drivers for example) some issues. The rest is
simply filtered out, I don't consciously hear it. It also sounds
like a firehouse or Sheriff's office, a 'happy noise' for me.
Keep secure what needs to be secure for staff safety, let the
rest be heard by the public or moved to cell phones; it is the
public right to access. That is the essence of what the courts
have decided. They got it right.
On 11/11/2019 9:43 AM, richardson_ed wrote: