For my County which is full police encryption now it really causes a problem for our firefighters and EMS personnel.Good points. For immediate communications with mutual aid agencies, encryption can screw that up. For non-immediate needs, like a search and rescue, there are plenty of dedicated interop frequencies that all agencies should have programmed into their radios.
We're starting to tackle this new DOJ mandate here, and I've had discussions with the county radio shop about how we're going to continue to interoperate. There's ways around it, but it takes cooperation.
While this may be a big challenge, I fully expect radio techs will cooperate and develop solutions.
Encryption was never a big issue in my County, the P2 system had encrypted Ops channels to switch to if they wanted and dispatch was in the clear. Law enforcement never had an issue with media, First Responders and serious hobbyist having sophisticated equipment listening in on dispatch with good intentions.
That all changed when dispatch became available to anybody which is not for discussion here. Dispatch went to partial encryption and anything sensitive they could throw the slide switch on their apx7000 and go encrypted, the dispatcher stayed in the clear. As per orders of the Board of Supervisors dispatchers would remind officers to switch back to the clear. The reason was the safety and situational awareness of other First Responders.
As civil unrest continued in Philadelphia, a nearby City... the county proposed increased funding, not defunding and made a 1.5 million dollar proposal to equip Fire and EMS officers and equipment with encrypted radios. They didn't however wait for that to be done, they went to full encryption despite endangering other First Responders. By the way we have no civil unrest in our County.
There's no need to spend 1.5 million dollars of the taxpayers money. They just need to teach the officers how to operate their radios as some can still not switch zones or go to encrypted Ops channels on their radios. Meanwhile Fire & EMS remain in the dark and ultimately citizens may suffer as more and more First Responders stage rather than respond secondary to lack of situational awareness and the concern for personal safety.