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Old 01-14-2013, 4:47 PM
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Default Encryption in Georgia

Quite often I hear the moaning and whining about how scanner owners are no longer able to listen to local radio systems because of encryption. Many times the reason cited is a public safety responder concern but realistically think about the overall improvement of emergency response after encryption is implemented.

If you've ever been a first responder you know many times when a large incident occurs, whether a large fire, accident or natural disaster like flooding or a tornado, the incident area quickly becomes congested by those wanting to get a first hand look. Sometimes its by those who heard it on the scanner themselves and sometimes it's a third party or the media who received the information from a scanner listener. This type of activity greatly impedes the ability for agencies to effectively respond to the incident and also affects the response of support crews (utility companies, tow trucks, disaster mediation services).

After being at many big events like the tornados of 2011 and floods of 2009, I welcome the ability for agencies to encrypt their systems which will make their overall response safer and more effective.
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Old 01-14-2013, 5:05 PM
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I'm not buying it but hey, maybe you can become a Motorola salesman like I once was and use that line of unproven malarkey to sell encryption boards. On second thought, I bet you already are one.
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Old 01-14-2013, 5:07 PM
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While I agree with some of your thoughts, I disagree with others.

For example, if the "big circus" (insert whatever event you like) comes to town, people are naturally curious and will circulate around the 'big top' to see the performers, etc. This was going on long before FM was FM and scanners were phone apps. Research the large tornado outbreaks, like 1925 or 1974, and you'll see the pictures and my point. My theory is, in general, people want to help their neighbors and they are also generally curious. Much of the desire to see the 'circus' is to dispel their denial of the event.

As a long-time storm chaser and weather nut, I have seen the ever-increasing number of wannabes "chasing" storms. Whether in the midwest or in my backyard, more folks think they can make a dime, get their 15 minutes of fame, or fulfill some adrenalin need. Maybe your observations was of some of these folks, too.

If chaos happens, folks will come and watch. It's human nature. Media, social media, and your person-to-person networking may be to blame for more 'rubberneckers' at more recent events than any radio scanner or phone app.

I get the 'officer safety' arguement but I also think that there should be an element (e.g., media) that helps watch the watchers (in real time, not by a FOIA process). Isn't the typical police disciplinary board made of (some, few, many) public citizens?

I just don't get the idea that Animal Control and SWAT need the same radio, at thousands of dollars each, and have to share the same encryption key and/or method. Welcome to Albenny, GA.
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Old 01-14-2013, 6:57 PM
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Originally Posted by rapidcharger View Post
I'm not buying it but hey, maybe you can become a Motorola salesman like I once was and use that line of unproven malarkey to sell encryption boards. On second thought, I bet you already are one.
I second that, all encryption is going to do is satisfy their power trip. They need at least one TG encrypted so they can talk doughnuts, ever watch Cops on TV how at the end of a scene they are always standing around foaming at the mouth about how it all went down, this one did this and that one did that, you know they have to have an encrypted TG to where they can do that. I live down the road from a fire station if I wanted to defeat your encryption I would just follow the fire truck, until another power trip leads to installing silent sirens, they get dispatched to everything that goes on.
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Old 01-15-2013, 9:05 AM
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I find it very entertaining when members get offended by logic, often makes me think that posts that offend a certain group are likely the type of person portrayed in the subject described in the post.

Unless you're on the side of emergency response you have no idea how frustrating it is to control a scene which has become innudated by looky loo. See here: Urban Dictionary: looky-loo Folks this kind of stuff leads to major problems as does a scanner listener passing information on to a third party. You're either causing coordination efforts by being on the scene or potentially creating a breeding ground for rumors because the person you told about the incident is going to put their twist on the story to the person they tell, so on and so on. Remember the telephone game you played as a kid? The message never ends up the same after it's passed down the line through a few people.

The comment about following the fire truck to a scene drives the point home. It's one thing to want to "help" when an event occurs but showing up on the scene of an incident within the first hour just to get a close look doesn't qualify as helping. Ask yourself these couple of questions, "Have you ever gone to a scene that you heard on the scanner but didn't have a valid reason to be there?" or "Have you ever called a third party to relay information you heard on the scanner?" If you answer yes to either of the questions then you can thank yourself for one of the reasons encryption is needed and now being used in the majority of new systems.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by dlls1415 View Post
I find it very entertaining when members get offended by logic, often makes me think that posts that offend a certain group are likely the type of person portrayed in the subject described in the post.

Unless you're on the side of emergency response you have no idea how frustrating it is to control a scene which has become innudated by looky loo. See here: Urban Dictionary: looky-loo Folks this kind of stuff leads to major problems as does a scanner listener passing information on to a third party. You're either causing coordination efforts by being on the scene or potentially creating a breeding ground for rumors because the person you told about the incident is going to put their twist on the story to the person they tell, so on and so on. Remember the telephone game you played as a kid? The message never ends up the same after it's passed down the line through a few people.

The comment about following the fire truck to a scene drives the point home. It's one thing to want to "help" when an event occurs but showing up on the scene of an incident within the first hour just to get a close look doesn't qualify as helping. Ask yourself these couple of questions, "Have you ever gone to a scene that you heard on the scanner but didn't have a valid reason to be there?" or "Have you ever called a third party to relay information you heard on the scanner?" If you answer yes to either of the questions then you can thank yourself for one of the reasons encryption is needed and now being used in the majority of new systems.
How many public safety people call their spouses and gives them a play by play of what is going on and do they pass along what is going on to others?

How many citizen bought un-encrypted scanners do the public safety officials have at home for their family to listen to?

You don't get it, do you? with a scanner I don't have to follow fire trucks and I don't have to go to a scene. I guess you have never passed info along to your friends and family, have you.

About all it amounts to is you can't mingle with the secret service on their encrypted radios, and you think the citizens that are below you shouldn't be monitoring you, sounds like somebody else is moaning and whining because with out encryption you don't feel as important. Why leave out the parts where people with scanners have helped public safety from what they heard on a scanner?

All we have heard from you is scanners and the media is responsible for people showing up at a scene, do you really think that the sirens of a police car, ambulance, and a fire truck blasting doesn't draw a crowd, why would I want to go to a scene when I am sitting at home listening to it.
Edited to add your logic is falling apart. If you don't want rubber necking then why is it when somebody hits somebody in the rear end, you guys shut down 3 lanes of traffic? more moaning and whining.
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Last edited by RomeRon; 01-15-2013 at 10:22 AM.. Reason: Your logic seems to be falling apart.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlls1415 View Post
IAsk yourself these couple of questions, "Have you ever gone to a scene that you heard on the scanner but didn't have a valid reason to be there?" or "Have you ever called a third party to relay information you heard on the scanner?" If you answer yes to either of the questions then you can thank yourself for one of the reasons encryption is needed and now being used in the majority of new systems.
That's illogical. I can guarantee you that I have never interfered with or in any way impeded at a fire response because I was there. Maybe things are different in Georgia, but in every state I've lived in they have police officers that keep people away from the direct scene. And if the police aren't there, the firefighters are totally capable of telling people to back up.

Can you reflect on some of the cases where people being down the street impeded your response and/or caused injuries and deaths?
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:26 AM
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That's illogical. I can guarantee you that I have never interfered with or in any way impeded at a fire response because I was there. Maybe things are different in Georgia, but in every state I've lived in they have police officers that keep people away from the direct scene. And if the police aren't there, the firefighters are totally capable of telling people to back up.

Can you reflect on some of the cases where people being down the street impeded your response and/or caused injuries and deaths?
Examples:

Georgia tornadoes of 2011: Couldn't even make my way into many scene because of people from other parts of the area who are either driving through the area looking around or walking around taking pictures of the damage. When we have remediation or utility companies trying to get into the area they're having the same problem because you've got entirely too many people in the area with more than 75% of them having no legitimate reason to be there.

Georgia floods of 2009: Similar to the incidents with the tornadoes except they show up to a small 2 lane road that is blocked by flood waters, after passing barriers stating the roadway is closed ahead then end up causing more of an issue at the actual problem because they have no room to turn around and end up damaging their vehicle or others by leaving the roadway, getting stuck or hitting another looky loo's vehicle. The end result is now an officer has to come do an accident report for someone who shouldn't have been there in the first place.

So how do I know the source was scanners? Because I've been at the scene minutes after the event when grandpa pulls up in his pick up, blocks a lane of traffic, gets out and walks around with his scanner held to his head and then proceeds to wander through the area looking like he's at the zoo and ready to see something intriguing.

Now these are large events and although most people aren't going to show up at the routine daily medical call or robbery how can we in public safety determine when and how to limit our radio traffic? We aren't going to suddenly encrypt when a large scale event happens versus a day to day event so the simplest thing is a blanket encryption policy for any and all talkgroups. Keeping people back from the scene is achievable when there's adequate staffing but we shouldn't have to even put multiple people on crowd control duty when sightseers should have enough common sense to know to stay away in the first place.

My point is curiosity is human nature and difficult to eliminate but you all question the reason of encryption. Most of the time the reason given is responder safety and although that's 100% valid, I'm telling you an underlying reason is because of a few bad apples that have done what grandpa did in my example above. Many of you obviously choose not to believe this reason or any other reason for that matter so it's like arguing with a fence post. If you don't believe it go ask anyone you know in public safety how much more difficult scanners make life when dealing with incidents on scene.
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:57 AM
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Neither a tornado outbreak or flood warning response was affected by scanners... Most people hear of those events and respond because of media coverage. Encrypting will not change that one iota.

Even if they encrypt PD, FD is still in the clear along with interop / mutual aid channels. So your theory wasn't quite fully worked out.
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:14 PM
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In the county where I live, the city, who is the only one digital has a conventional scanner in each unit. They scan the sheriff, GSP, Fire Dept. Mall, you name it. GSP also has scanners in their units for the same reason. Did you know... 911 dispatch does too??

Encrypt, and that monitoring goes away.. unless of course you put thousands of dollars worth of encrypted radios in each unit. The cost of a $100 scanner in each unit is so much simpler. Doing this has only helped response times and awareness of situations.

While we are on the topic. Because of my scanner, I have pulled a lady out of a burning house, pulled another lady out of a burning car, and helped locate many lookouts. Not because I wanted to get involved and rushed to the scene, but because I was in a position to get their before first responders.

Each agency has their own reason to encrypt. Each agency also has their own regrets for doing it when they do.
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Old 01-15-2013, 3:55 PM
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...Not to mention, the local Sheriff's dept, Fire-Rescue, etc. are OUR (citizens) agencies, they do NOT belong to the people who work there.
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Old 01-15-2013, 4:14 PM
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A year ago I had incident at my house (son got his arms pinched under a door) and I wanted the fire department to put a second set of eyes on things before I did anything. (Also, knowing our our Child Protection folks in Indiana work, an incident report to explain the bruises on his arm would be cheap insurance.)

So I called dispatch and asked for the units to respond quietly, which they did. I was looking at the window and saw a local ham who I personally know as a scanner buff roll up, slow down, look around, and then drive away. In the ten minutes it took for the FD to arrive, I counted eight cars with antennas or drivers visibly holding scanners drive around.

I worked on the telecom system for a local school district - 96 phone lines. When there was any mention of one of our schools on the scanner, all 96 lines were swamped with inbound calls from parents BEFORE the units even rolled. It got so bad, we now have one trunk group with 72 lines for incoming, a separate trunk group of 48 lines for outgoing, and a dedicated span (23 lines) for 911 outbound and 911 call back. Scanner listeners make emergency responses at school a disaster, the roads are clogged, the phone lines needed to make emergency calls are swamped, etc.

I don't think my fellow enthusiasts realize how (what I hope is) a minority play wannabe cop, get their iPhone video on CNN's iReport, or whatever.
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Old 01-15-2013, 5:03 PM
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A year ago I had incident at my house (son got his arms pinched under a door) and I wanted the fire department to put a second set of eyes on things before I did anything. (Also, knowing our our Child Protection folks in Indiana work, an incident report to explain the bruises on his arm would be cheap insurance.)

So I called dispatch and asked for the units to respond quietly, which they did. I was looking at the window and saw a local ham who I personally know as a scanner buff roll up, slow down, look around, and then drive away. In the ten minutes it took for the FD to arrive, I counted eight cars with antennas or drivers visibly holding scanners drive around.

I worked on the telecom system for a local school district - 96 phone lines. When there was any mention of one of our schools on the scanner, all 96 lines were swamped with inbound calls from parents BEFORE the units even rolled. It got so bad, we now have one trunk group with 72 lines for incoming, a separate trunk group of 48 lines for outgoing, and a dedicated span (23 lines) for 911 outbound and 911 call back. Scanner listeners make emergency responses at school a disaster, the roads are clogged, the phone lines needed to make emergency calls are swamped, etc.

I don't think my fellow enthusiasts realize how (what I hope is) a minority play wannabe cop, get their iPhone video on CNN's iReport, or whatever.
Glad to see someone else here has witnessed this issue firsthand. It is an ongoing problem and you're right, it's likely the minority of scanner listeners doing it but it only takes a few to ruin it for everyone.

Locally there's a message board where I live and nearly every day various members post bits and pieces of things they heard on a scanner. Many times a routine call gets twisted into something way more than what actually occurred because of the "I heard from a reliable source" people. Or even worse someone has driven to the scene, taken photos of what they could see and posted it on the message board.

Like I said in an earlier post, if you are easily offended by my reasoning of encryption to mitigate this type of activity, in case you don't already know, you're probably one that would do the things described by kg9nn.
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Old 01-15-2013, 5:27 PM
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Here in Georgia our primary state investigative Agency is the GBI, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. It has been encrypted for years and no one seems to mind because they understand the reason. There is a GBI Regional Office in my town and it doesn't bother me at all that I can't listen to them.

Last Friday night the Chatham (Savannah) SWAT team went into Effingham at request of the S.O. to assist in a hostage situation, they did, fired a single shot and killed the offender. And the setting up was on the P-25 trunked system and was NOT encrypted. I don't know if the GBI was involved or not as I can't hear them but SWAT got the job done, that is all I need to know.
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Old 01-15-2013, 5:54 PM
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The media received it through a scanner listener ? Hate to burst your bubble, the media uses scanners and moniters local police, fire, ems themselves as well as other bands.
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Old 01-15-2013, 7:41 PM
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Rome Ga, is just finishing up a 26 million dollar P25 system and so far, as I am told the only ones that will be encrypted is SWAT and Drug Task Force, this I can understand. But if the OP had his way we wouldn't even be able to listen to animal control. And he would expect me to just let it be water under the bridge when they added a dollar or two to my home and cell phone bill for upkeep on the system and encryption software.

He comes on here trying to draw blood with his people whining and moaning comments about not being able to listen to their scanner, but he whines and moans wanting somebody else to pay for his encryption, and how special he and his are, excluding the Fire Department, the rest of the public safety people are in no more, maybe less in danger than somebody working on an assembly line or any other job for that matter.
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Old 01-15-2013, 8:34 PM
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The media received it through a scanner listener ? Hate to burst your bubble, the media uses scanners and moniters local police, fire, ems themselves as well as other bands.
And if they encrypt them out all they have to do is go down and get the police reports from the day/night before and if they want to dig deeper they know how to do that. Now encrypters put that in your encryption pipes and smoke that.
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Old 01-15-2013, 9:06 PM
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Glad to see someone else here has witnessed this issue firsthand. It is an ongoing problem and you're righ
Ehh - read it again. He didn't say that it was a problem. Having someone drive by is hardly cause for public chaos.
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Old 01-15-2013, 9:15 PM
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Until the FCC forbids the use of scanners to monitor public safety channels, it is legal to do so. I support the use of encryption for special ops and such, but general dispatch can be useful by the community. I know many Law Enforcement, fire and other agencies who agree with me and encourage it. When law abiding citizens are disarmed (guns, scanners, or whatever) only the cops and criminals will have them. Anyone who thinks criminals will not have access to encrypted radios is foolish.
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Old 01-15-2013, 9:56 PM
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In the county where I live, the city, who is the only one digital has a conventional scanner in each unit. They scan the sheriff, GSP, Fire Dept. Mall, you name it. GSP also has scanners in their units for the same reason. Did you know... 911 dispatch does too??

Encrypt, and that monitoring goes away.. unless of course you put thousands of dollars worth of encrypted radios in each unit. The cost of a $100 scanner in each unit is so much simpler. Doing this has only helped response times and awareness of situations.

While we are on the topic. Because of my scanner, I have pulled a lady out of a burning house, pulled another lady out of a burning car, and helped locate many lookouts. Not because I wanted to get involved and rushed to the scene, but because I was in a position to get their before first responders.

Each agency has their own reason to encrypt. Each agency also has their own regrets for doing it when they do.
In tha city of morrow, ga the city police dept. along with their dispatch center monitor the county police, sheriff, and fire dept. along with conjoining cities that respond mutual aid with them & being able to monitor one anothers radio traffic (Some are on totally different bands without being able to interop) and that has prevented them from sending ambulances to scenes where they were being canceled even before being dispatched to leave the station & fire trucks to fires that were extinguished before they could arrive so that kept equipment in service that would have otherwise been tied up going all the way into another city to the scene to find out they werent needed until they arrived. When this county goes P25 Digital Encrypted (And they are going there by their RFP cause of their feed being broadcasted over the internet) the cities public safety officers are goin to be out in the cold also. Having these scanners enables them to monitor the counties chases into their areas without them switching channels on their unit radios & losing contact with their dispatch. But, the benefits of criminals not being able to hear them coming outweigh the benefits of other jurisdictions having a closer ear on whats coming their way so the encryption wins! Stop broadcaasting the police calls & the encryption will decrease (Not Totally Stop Though!) on certain channels. They will always want Narcotics/Surveillance/Gang/Talk Around channels encrypted even in analog conventional systems, but as far as the fire dept. is concerned they will only be digital on dispatch, fireground will be simplex analog.(As requested in the RFP)
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