Conflict of interest

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timmer

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I have been into scanning since my freshman year of high school. I'm now 46 and still into scanning. If my scanner is not on, it's because I'm either not home or fast asleep. (and sometimes it's on then, too.) I have always wanted to know what is going on in my city, my neighborhood and my county that I live in. I hate to see all these places that are encrypting or using pro-voice. I keep hoping my local police don't do any of those things. For the first time, however, I found myself wishing that my local police had encryption. About 2 weeks ago, I awoke at 2:15 in the morning to loud, angry voices outside the front of my home. I looked out my bedroom window to see about 20 (at least) people fighting in the street and in my front yard. My wife and son watched out the window as I called the police. We watched and waited and waited for the police to arrive. Right before they got there (about a minute or two) someone in the group yelled "the cops are coming" and they all got in their cars and took off. I don't know if they had a scanner or not but I suspect they did. For the first time ever, I found myself wishing the local p.d. had encryption. I have already lost that thought but I can and do understand why some places have gone to it. To finish my story, the police came to my door later that night (after blocking the entire street and getting out the yellow crime scene tape) to tell me someone had been stabbed and the house next door to me had 4 individuals in there that would not come out. After several hours, they came out peacefully, but by then the whole nieghborhood was aware of what was going on. Just food for thought. I guess it only takes something like this happening near you and your loved ones to make even the most die hard scanner person think.
 

hoser147

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You did the right thing.They may or may not have heard the radio traffic, alot of times someone will yell out that the cops are coming just to get the fight broke up. I know it works, Ive seen it done several times, a couple of my friends own a Bar and they tell their workers to holler it out when a fight is taking place and usually it abruptly ends and the parties leave, with out the police even being called, if it continues they get called..............Hoser
 

Airdorn

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We're supposed to have a pretty free and open society. I just think the cops need to encrypt stuff that's highly sensitive, but leave the rest of it open for all to hear. Encrypting everything under the general guise of 'security' just ends up making people more and more suspicious of the police.

Open radio systems for all who bother to listen, videotaping traffic stops and other taped surveillance are just ways for the cops to demonstrate that they really aren't the gestapo force that the crybabies on the far left always want to paint them to be.
 

timmer

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That's very possible that the person that yelled out was just trying to get them to leave. (it worked). It was a teenager who had an alcohol party. (her parents were out of town on vacation.) I agree that they should leave most radio traffic in the clear, but I do understand how some agencies wish to encrypt. There are alot of cops out there (especially seargants and higher ranking officials who think they would be better off with the public shut out.) I don't think that way. But, when dealing with alot of drug activity such as in Miami florida, for example, I see the need for it. The officer's lives are at stake and an entire drug bust could possibly be blown if the bad guys were listening in. And believe me, they do listen in.
 

JnglMassiv

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I don't know if they had a scanner or not but I suspect they did. For the first time ever, I found myself wishing the local p.d. had encryption.
One alternative possibility to a scanner: Someone else called 911 and was told that police had already been dispatched.
Another: distant sirens, possibly on an unrelated call.
 

timmer

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I found out later that I was the first to call, followed by my neighbor to the north. (The house that the party came from was the one next to me to the south.) Anyway, the whole thing just makes a person think that sometimes it would be better to have an encryption. (At least, at the time it was happening.) After looking back at what happened, I should have told my wife and son to get away from the windows. (You never know when someone could be armed, and when bullets fly, who knows where they could end up.) And there are shots fired calls just about every night in this city, (although usually not in my neighborhood.)
 

RayAir

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That's very possible that the person that yelled out was just trying to get them to leave. (it worked). It was a teenager who had an alcohol party. (her parents were out of town on vacation.) I agree that they should leave most radio traffic in the clear, but I do understand how some agencies wish to encrypt. There are alot of cops out there (especially seargants and higher ranking officials who think they would be better off with the public shut out.) I don't think that way. But, when dealing with alot of drug activity such as in Miami florida, for example, I see the need for it. The officer's lives are at stake and an entire drug bust could possibly be blown if the bad guys were listening in. And believe me, they do listen in.
They can always send the call over the MDT and not the radio. It's much cheaper than buying encryption boards for all radios and installing them. Ex- The cost for buying and installing high end analog encryption into just 50 radios can run over $30,000.
 

SAR923

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I think I can make just as valid an arguement that, if someone had a scanner and heard the call being dispatched, the fight broke up sooner and there were less injuries than if it would have continued. I certainly didn't want to wade into a crowd of 20 people fighting and I always made sure I made plenty of noise before I showed up. They will usually scatter like cockroaches and then you can treat the injusred and grab a few stragglers. It's usually the same bunch of thugs and bangers involved anyway so we can always get warrants later. If there's a need for a secure dispatch, CAD and cell phones work (and are used much more than many scanner listeners think) without spending even more money for encryption.
 

slicerwizard

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Anyway, the whole thing just makes a person think that sometimes it would be better to have an encryption.
Unless you have accurate stats on how many calls are negatively affected by scanner users, you're just engaging in wild speculation.

Do some bad guys use scanners? They sure do. And it's been that way for decades. Somehow, the world has coped.
 

mdulrich

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I agree, I doubt somebody had a scanner. Even if they did, you wanted the fight to stop. Mission accomplished. With a normal fight situation, I doubt anyone would be arrested unless they got stupid with the cops. Usually they just tell everyone to go home or move on, unless they actually witness a serious assault. Not really worth the cost of encryption.

Mike
 

timmer

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I guess that's all valid points. I suppose I just wanted to see the ones that started it (whoever it was), get their just dues. In the end, they all scattered and the injured party was tended to.
 

swstow

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a quick little story also, several of my neighbors and i with the wife ( retired leo ) are sitting on the front deck of our house on a nice summer night, well here comes the local wanta be bad kids from the next neighborhood,yelling and swearing as they walked down the street
one of my guest told them to knock it off ( young kids around ) well about a minute later a fire truck was running code several blocks away,one of the wanta bees yelled cops, they went running leaving my wife and i laughing and our guest not getting it

fire trucks use a different siren tone then police, my wife and i knew it, they didnt
 

mjthomas59

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Although there are times encryption would be nice, it can do just as much harm as it does good. I work in a somewhat rural county and I depend on muni-cops all the time, just as they depend on me when hot calls come in. I have the luxury of switching over to their frequency thus eliminating the lag time between things happening, being said over the radio, relayed from one dispatcher to another, and then finally getting to me.

If my agency had encryption then I could assure you that not all the other muni's in the county would due to funding and the debate of "do we really need this?" So then i would be left in the above problem of having to wait forever for information to be relayed. That can get people hurt and/or killed, plus its just simply frustrating to be en route to something and not know exactly what is happening. There is a lot of information that you can gather based on background noise, the level of stress the person has in their voice while talking on the radio, etc. that you don't get when it is received 2nd hand.

That being said we have groups of guys who love to go out and street race. THey all have scanners and leave the area before we can show up. We now have to resort to using unmarked vehicles and wasting a bunch of man hours just because some people want to drive and street race like idiots. It is also a major issue when serving warrants, responding to any "in-progress" calls, as well as our dealings with the local meth labs.

So what do we do without encryption? Text message is a biggie in my department, use cell-phones, use our "talk-around" channels on low power, etc. Basically whatever it takes to catch more people in the act.
 

Viper43

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You did the right thing.They may or may not have heard the radio traffic, alot of times someone will yell out that the cops are coming just to get the fight broke up. I know it works, Ive seen it done several times, a couple of my friends own a Bar and they tell their workers to holler it out when a fight is taking place and usually it abruptly ends and the parties leave, with out the police even being called, if it continues they get called..............Hoser

(shocked) A fight at a bar in Ohio! No Way! lol...this from someone who worked many, many years ago worked at the former Sundowner in Lima :) .... there was a fight there every night!

V
 
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I know firsthand of a Sheriff's Deputy who lives on my street and listens to the local PD dispatch, and has been able to assist before PD could arrive. There are plenty of public safety people who carry scanners. Some Phoenix cops carry them and monitor our state police and sheriff's dispatch, and have been able to show up before backup arrived from the state police or sheriff. It wasn't more than a month ago that I heard a Phoenix cop telling his dispatch that he heard a DPS officer in need of assistance on the scanner, and was going to help him out.

There are also plenty of times when an honest citizen listening to a scanner has assited LE. I have done it myself, helping them catch a pretty bad guy years back.

The good of scanners more than outweighs the bad. Encryption is for tac and narc ops. Encrypting normal traffic is a bad idea.

One guy at HRO told me half of the scanners they sell go to cops or fire guys.
 
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