• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

Brush Fire at Scottsdale Road and Pinnacle Peak moved to Encrypted

PorscheEMB

Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2011
Messages
7
I was just listening to the brush fire on G2 RWC Mutual Aid / Intersystem when someone came on (I believe a Sargent) and specifically asked dispatch for an encrypted channel. She then came back and moved all traffic to H2.

Any reason for this? Especially since it is just a brush fire and not much to do with PD (road closures) etc....

Any comments welcomed!!
 

AzTac

Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2018
Messages
35
Location
Scottsdale, AZ - Beat 17
Porsche - Was the traffic related to fire operations or law enforcement (traffic/crowd control) operations? I'm guessing it was law enforcement if you were listening to a sergeant. More and more LE communications in the Valley (and especially Phoenix PD) are moving toward encryption. I suspect it's only a short time before virtually all of their comms are encrypted.

I can tell you at least one reason for both Fire and LE going to encryption - especially with the advent of police scanner apps - more and more citizens are showing up at various scenes and creating unnecessary logistical challenges for all first responders. From an incident management perspective, more sightseers = more headaches (scanner enthusiasts included.)

One fad becoming increasingly common with wildfires is the combination of citizen drone pilots using scanners/apps to direct their flights. You've probably seen news reports about the hazards this is creating.

Also, thanks to the scanner app sites creating recorded databases of traffic, I'm hearing more audio clips re-played on the nightly news than ever before. It tends to unnecessarily create inaccurate perceptions and misunderstandings that simply don't need to occur and won't occur on an encrypted channel. Place yourself in the shoes of the incident commander knowing that EVERYTHING you and your personnel say on the radio in the "heat of the battle" is subject to being scrutinized and broadcast around the world - human nature will tell you that gives the IC just one more factor to consider at at time when he is already operating at max capacity.

In short, there is NO downside only benefit to public safety personnel when they encrypt their comms - so it's a "no brainer" for them. (As a disclaimer I'm a scanner listener and hate that it's come to this, but I also have perspective on the public safety side and I completely understand and support their need to encrypt.)
 

PorscheEMB

Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2011
Messages
7
I totally understand what you are saying but this was basically 95% fire activity and the 5% of the LE that was there was to block traffic and roads only.

I thought it was very odd he did this... this was well after it was public knowledge and on all news stations.

Very interesting... I am used to it mainly with PD operations...
 

William2910

Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2018
Messages
330
Location
Land of entrapment
Seems to be more common in southwest.

New Mexico in few counties mainly operated in analog but during incidents will go encrypted for the named reasons.

Sign of times with IC and managements.
 

p19997

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Messages
100
Location
Baja Tempe/Chandler Border
On a recent, different, police situation, they wanted to move to an encrypted channel but couldn't. Their stated concern was the media. They fly over and get too close. In short, they act like pests and adversely impact the situation. I was listening to the brush fire as well and think that the media may have been their concern as well.

There is a downside to encryption: A feeling that they have something to hide. I have no problem with encryption for things that really warrant it, but indiscriminate use erodes public trust and increases suspicion.
 

AzTac

Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2018
Messages
35
Location
Scottsdale, AZ - Beat 17
On a recent, different, police situation, they wanted to move to an encrypted channel but couldn't. Their stated concern was the media. They fly over and get too close. In short, they act like pests and adversely impact the situation. I was listening to the brush fire as well and think that the media may have been their concern as well.

There is a downside to encryption: A feeling that they have something to hide. I have no problem with encryption for things that really warrant it, but indiscriminate use erodes public trust and increases suspicion.

p19997 - I hear you (and I know we're not really supposed to be discussing it any longer on this forum) but I can assure you from the public safety perspective any perceived erosion of trust or increased suspicion (that didn't exist already...) is minimal at best and promulgated mostly by a marginal and hypersensitive scanner community. If someone doesn't trust police officers/firefighters because they can't eavesdrop on their communications, I would suggest there exist predisposed trust issues and thus larger problems.

In my experience, any perceived mistrust based on monitoring radio traffic is far outweighed by the benefits of effectively managing incident scenes and protecting the public. You alluded to some concerns yourself. I would also assert the general public and scanner hobbyists are not in the best qualified position to determine what situation "warrants" encryption and what doesn't.

Again, I wish we didn't even have to have this discussion, but I think it's important to try to objectively understand both sides of the issue.
 

K9DAK

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 16, 2010
Messages
429
Location
Wauconda, IL
Wow, I know we're not supposed to discuss this here, but I think this is the best, most reasonable and logical discussion of this topic that I've seen recently. As a scanner listener for over 40 years and an EMA Incident Commander in the last few years, I see both sides. Great discussion.
 

kayn1n32008

Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
5,492
Location
In the 'patch
any perceived erosion of trust or increased suspicion (that didn't exist already...) is minimal at best and promulgated mostly by a marginal and hypersensitive scanner community.
Very, very, very minimal.

Scanner listeners are a very small fraction of a percentage of the over all population. They are also very, very, very hypersensitive.

...I would also assert the general public and scanner hobbyists are not in the best qualified position to determine what situation "warrants" encryption and what doesn't.
Very, very, very unqualified.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

KR7CQ

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 20, 2013
Messages
975
Location
Phoenix
Good discussion and points. I will say that there is a value to the citizenry knowing what is going on around them in some cases. If a dangerous person is on the loose, it's kind of nice for the citizenry to know for safety reasons, but then of course the bad guy COULD also be listening, catch 22. I once spotted the getaway vehicle of an armed robber and flagged down a patrol car and they got they guy right then because I heard the call on the scanner and assisted. There are many other cases like this that you can find.

The standard SHOULD be, that if there is no clear reason to encrypt, they shouldn't. Just keeping people in the dark to avoid public oversight and awareness is nonsense for a conservatarian like myself, and encryption is used for that reason far too often. Citizens can't complain about things they are never even aware of. Violent crimes happen all the time in the valley and the media often doesn't even know these days. Only an experienced scanner person scanning multiple systems with the right gear will know how to find certain things out. But of course the cops are happy to have the citizens NOT know that a murder or rape ever even happened (yes it's all ultimately public record but who goes searching?). No news is good news for LE. My son is midway through the Phoenix Police academy and we have discussed this very topic. Its understandable that LE loves encryption. They don't really see a downside despite the "good stories" like the ones I'm mentioning. Our local media (according to Phoenix PD) caused PPD to encrypt the hot DECs. The media owns part of this, at least here in Phoenix.

Scanner users are a tiny, tiny percentage of the public these days. When I was a kid in Indiana probably a quarter of local households had scanners and listened regularly. Times have changed. Things like simulcast problems, equipment prices, and increasing complexity have also caused average citizens and even some news people to likely throw up their hands on monitoring, and the scanner community is a tiny fraction of what it once was. The advent of smart devices has left things like radio hobbies in the rear-view mirror for the most part. Scanner apps are pretty much garbage for anyone really wanting to do controlled monitoring. In short, LE couldn't care less what a small number of scanner people think.

Even Phoenix PD helicopter pilots are more aware now of what they say on AM air to air.

I sometimes hear officers carping on the radio about not having encryption when they are doing joint ops on G Dec. They have grown used to encrypting a lot of what they do.

This trend will only strengthen. Encryption is the future, right, wrong, or otherwise. There is no going back.

My advice? Enjoy what we can, while we still can, there is still a lot to hear if you know how and where to listen.
 

desert-cheetah

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Sep 10, 2010
Messages
664
Location
In the desert someplace
On a recent, different, police situation, they wanted to move to an encrypted channel but couldn't. Their stated concern was the media. They fly over and get too close. In short, they act like pests and adversely impact the situation. I was listening to the brush fire as well and think that the media may have been their concern as well.
I believe I know which incident you’re talking about. The media was asked to back off a couple of times because they were worried it would cause the suspect to spook, but media refused to back off.

Anyway, I believe the reason why they couldn’t move to a different channel was because not everyone had access to the encrypted channel so they were told to use plain English since both agencies use different radio codes.
 
Top