- Feb 19, 2005
meriden police went digital on friday they are on 852.4625 but i dont know what they are using for an f2?
Radio scanners silent as police go digital, plan encryption
By Dan Ivers, Record-Journal staff | Posted: Friday, September 2, 2011 10:47 pm
MERIDEN - Like a deadbolt or a faithful guard dog, Wayne Gdovin always viewed his police scanner as a way to keep his family safe.
The crackle of the small, analog, programmable scanner with the chatter of city officers and dispatchers has been a familiar sound at his Johnson Avenue home for the last 25 years. Last week, however, city police switched their signal to digital to comply with federal communications regulations, and the old radio has suddenly gone quiet.
Gdovin, a father of three and grandfather of eight, is considering buying a more expensive digital scanner to continue listening in, but he is also concerned about a plan to encrypt police communications. Once put into place, the new technology would shut out anyone without access to a special code, regardless of their equipment.
"It was just that you got to know what was going on in the city - where there were trouble areas, shootings," he said. "It lets you know what to expect."
The switch to digital radio is not only necessary to stay in line with federal regulations. It's also needed to communicate with police in neighboring towns and connect to a statewide law enforcement frequency. It would also improve problems with dead spots, particularly in low-lying areas.
Encryption, however, is a decision that lies entirely with individual police departments. While most law enforcement agencies in the state have already made the switch to digital radio - which, unlike analog, is compatible with encryption technology - only a handful of departments have opted for full encryption.
The state police, for example, have had a full digital radio system since 2009 but still communicate over open frequencies available to the public. Many of the departments that have switched have faced an outcry from devoted scanner listeners as well as from the news media, which relies on scanner transmissions to dispatch reporters and photographers to emergencies such as car accidents, fires, shootings or other incidents.
Meriden Police Chief Jeffry Cossette has not responded to multiple requests for comment on the reasons behind the plans for encryption. Last week, Lt. Patrick Gaynor told the Record-Journal that the encryption will help keep officers safe by preventing criminals from overhearing their communications.
The switch could also cut down on sensitive information, such as the names of juveniles, and other details that are typically not released to the public, floating over the airwaves, according to Gaynor.
Gdovin said he understands that "bad people" have scanners, too, and that some things should not be broadcast for anyone to hear. But he said police and fire personnel have always been able to use code or switch over to alternate frequencies at their discretion. With an 11-year-old granddaughter now living with him, he's as concerned as ever about crime in his neighborhood and around the city.
"It's just nice (to know what's going on) when you have kids," Gdovin said. "Especially in this day and age, with drugs and everything. To me, it's a good thing to have. I miss it."
Those concerns are shared by many of the city's neighborhood association leaders, who regularly meet with police to discuss problems with crime and other public safety issues.
Council of Neighborhoods President David Swedock said he would like to see a compromise that would allow police to encrypt information that should not be released, but still allow local media and the public to hear most transmissions.
"I think it's important for people to be able to listen. I also think it's important for stuff that's sensitive shouldn't be heard, either," he said.
Talks about the switch had been going on for some time, according to Swedock, who called the publicizing of the move during a federal investigation into allegations of police brutality and other misconduct an "unfortunate coincidence." He added that he believes it will likely be up to a year before full encryption takes effect.
Mary Ellen Mordarski, a member of the Council of Neighborhoods board of directors, also believes the public should be allowed to monitor what police are doing unless it is absolutely necessary to hide it.
"I think we should be able to know what's going on in town. I've always been a big advocate for openness," she said. "Unless it's some secret covert operation, I kind of doubt that things need to be hidden. I'd say 90 percent of what happens in town is public information."
The number that the Criminal used some type scanner is in the thousands now due to I phone appsAll this encryption non encryption police secrecy is a bunch of bull. I can see them going Digital for quality, but encryption is not going to be for officer safety and anyone that thinks that needs to get educated how many crimes have ever been reported that the criminal used some type of scanner. .
Or to keep them in check; help them when we can; and protect or neighborhoods and families when possible. But that will all be a thing of the past soon.A recent robbery in southern CT the lookout was in his car listing to his I phone scanner app to track PD - Were they caught? And how is it known that they used an I-Phone App to track police activity? Use of police signals in the commission of a crime is illegal!
At the local FD the other day the guys were using the scanner apps on their phones to avoid some speed traps; they also said they come in handy for DWI check points. - This very same FD has a RadioReference link on its website to monitor their own calls!!! PS - DWI checkpoints are publicized in the local newspapers prior.
A local PD that went encrypted not to long ago has found that when someone calls in a drug dealer on the corner he is still there when they get there because his I phone scanner app is not working anymore. - It would be better to work with the loacal feed provider(s) rather than spen almost $2m taxpayer dollars in this economy to hide your signals, ESPECIALLY in light of the federal investigations of several officers for excessive brute force, or did you not know that Off Cossette's dash cam and audio of the field incident is available on YouTube. If you are going to cover up the in-house incidents with encryption, you had better get a tight hold on the release of videos.
Again no real reason to listen to the Pd except for entertainment or for profit in the case of media
I think thats what he was saying, it is so easy to listen now days that every person with a phone or internet can listen.