Defund Encryption

ScubaJungle

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The problem with public records requests and requesting audio after-the-fact is you have no idea what it is. How could you possibly know to request audio of June 10th, at 1800hrs, if you were not listening at the moment?

Regardless of what's available after-the-fact through public records, it still diminishes accountability and transparency ten-fold.
There is no comparison because 99% of things that would get caught by a casual listener will go unheard forever if relying on someone happening to request the right audio, of the right time, day, etc.

Let's assume you have the time of the incident, what about the right channel?! - so you request audio records from an incident - but 9/10 times they give you dispatch and primary channels, and not the car-to-car channel - that you no longer even know exists - because you were unable to ID the channels since they are encrypted.

Now whatever key piece of evidence was said is gone. Also, agencies pretty much have the right to deny any requests for any reason they feel like - even if not "officially" so, so they still do, and label it as linked to ongoing investigations, or sensitive, etc.

Justifying encryption via the public records request argument doesn't really stand.
 

trentbob

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Yep.



Taxpayers are a bottomless source of free money.
As for elections, all it takes is "What if you called 911 and no one came?". That got used in my county about 15 years ago, and has been used all over the place. Voters that don't understand a thing about the technology can be easily lead into voting which ever way you want. Just takes a good salesperson.

Let's face it, most voters are very easily influenced. It's basic marketing, tell the voter what they want to hear, and they'll do exactly what you want them to do, 100% of the time.




Maybe in some places, but we've got 20 officers total, our own PSAP and our own radio systems.
It's getting harder to do, though. Regional PSAPS make a lot of sense. But they also charge a lot. 911 funds get pillaged by politicians, so money is not always where it's supposed to be.



Likely. But we know all it takes is a good salesman/marketer to find the right chief and the right taxpayers. I'd suggest keeping Motorola sales people out of your county at all costs.



Yep, see marketing comments above. All it takes is figuring out what scares people, then play off that. Do it right and you don't even have to convince all of them. Fear spreads like VD when the fleets in.



Yeah, I personally wouldn't spend a lot of money on one right now. But I tend to run the wheels of things, so I'm not in the "scanner of the month" club.

I understand the concerns, but I think that the fight against encryption is going to be a difficult one. Too many politicians don't think they have to answer to the voters. Some police departments are out of control and have forgotten their roles. Digital is here, analog is slowly fading. Encryption is easy.
It's funny that you mention taxpayers are a bottomless source of money, just today the numbers are coming out. The high-rent districts in the cities with the most permissive attitude towards lawlessness and unrest are emptying out rapidly, leases are being broken at record numbers so those cities may be defunding not only the police and new Radio Systems but the fire departments, sanitation department and public works LOL

There is a new type of policing which will bring a whole new set of threats.

I said above we are coming out of that post 2001 militaristic, nationalistic war against Islamic terrorism. Haven't heard a whole lot about them for a few years now huh?... the pendulum swings.

Great discussion tonight.
 

mmckenna

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How many times have body cam footage gone missing, or the cops "forgot" to turn the camera on?
Lots.
And that is something that needs to change. Officers get some privacy, meal times, restroom breaks, etc. But the rest of the time there needs to be a way to make the cameras automatically turn on without officer intervention. It would be difficult and require some changes to attitudes, but it's one of the ways they could change perceptions.



FOIA requests cost money, time, and you have to know an event took place. You can't just go ask for 24/7 audio tapes and transcripts. You would go bankrupt, and the request would be denied.
Yep, again, something where attitudes need to change.
1. They'd need to stop frivolous requests. Don't ask me to define that, it's easier for me to just assume someone will figure it out.
2. They need to figure out a way to control costs.
3. They need to find a way to prevent people from asking for 24x7 recordings.

It's not going to be easy, never said it would be, but things need to change.


You call it entertainment, I call it awareness and accountability.
…..
Do I listen to the radio sometimes for "entertainment?" Sure! But it's more for awareness than anything else.
What you listen to and what you may or may not record, probably isn't going to stand up in a court if you tried to use it as evidence against wrong-doing. Too easily doctored, too easily misinterpreted, too easily screwed up. Sure, you may become aware of someone doing something shady, but then what? "I heard it on the scanner" isn't going to stand up in court. You'll need to provide proof, and that's going to take some hard evidence. Any good lawyer would be able to tear apart scanner recordings.
I can get the situational awareness thing, but that's a side benefit of old technology, not something that is provided as a service to scanner listeners. Better ways to disseminate information to the public than scanners.
 

mmckenna

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Justifying encryption via the public records request argument doesn't really stand.
Of course not.
And what about the stuff that happens over their cell phones? That's not going to be available. Text messages? What about that stuff that gets discussed after hours, or in the locker room?

The fix to the current issue is to repair the parts of law enforcement that are broken or otherwise out of control. That's going to take a lot more than people listening to scanners. It's a much larger issue.
 

alcahuete

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Lots.
And that is something that needs to change. Officers get some privacy, meal times, restroom breaks, etc. But the rest of the time there needs to be a way to make the cameras automatically turn on without officer intervention. It would be difficult and require some changes to attitudes, but it's one of the ways they could change perceptions.
Agreed.

3. They need to find a way to prevent people from asking for 24x7 recordings.
But how would you know something took place without requesting 24/7 recordings? I guess you could do random "audits" of chunks of audio and transcripts, but there's a MUCH easier way...just not allowing encryption. ;)


What you listen to and what you may or may not record, probably isn't going to stand up in a court if you tried to use it as evidence against wrong-doing.
Doesn't need to. That's when you make a records request and get the official copy. But you can't do that without knowing the event took place.
 

mmckenna

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But how would you know something took place without requesting 24/7 recordings? I guess you could do random "audits" of chunks of audio and transcripts, but there's a MUCH easier way...just not allowing encryption. ;)
Dispatchers.
The dispatchers need to play a role in the changes that are needed. There was one in a recent incident that let her supervisor know that something wasn't right with the way things were going. Sounded like she got ignored. Again, attitudes need to change.
The blind allegiance to the badge thing has to stop. We have to acknowledge that there are a lot of really good cops and a few really bad ones, and a bunch in the middle. The idea that you defend your brothers/sisters at all costs even when they do something wrong has got to change. It's sort of like politics, no one wants to talk bad about their party because so many are simply 'being part of the team'. No one wants to be labeled as "not a team player". In a lot of political discussions, one of the worst places you can be is in the middle. Both sides will hate you, both sides will blame you for not being "part of the team".

Dispatchers need to have a way of initiating an anonymous query into an event that includes the agency, the courts and the public. It needs to be a foolproof system that protects the whistleblower. It could be as simple as a time stamped trigger that says "hey, someone needs to look at this and make sure it's kosher".

But what we have right now is agencies going into a huddle to protect themselves at all costs. Any inquiry at all is considered an "attack on law enforcement". It isn't. Transparency is needed, but it's not going to come solely from scanner listeners. There needs to be a better system.
 

657fe2

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I think most of us agree that reform and transparency are needed. Scanners will not cure everything but they are a part of what of what is needed. Just yesterday, people were monitoring Atlanta Police feeds where they heard that many calls were not being responded too. The Atlanta PIO put out a press release that they were a little short on officers but APD was not majorly affected. The Scanner traffic suggested otherwise. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Citizens monitoring their government has its place.
 

ScubaJungle

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Of course not.
And what about the stuff that happens over their cell phones? That's not going to be available. Text messages? What about that stuff that gets discussed after hours, or in the locker room?

The fix to the current issue is to repair the parts of law enforcement that are broken or otherwise out of control. That's going to take a lot more than people listening to scanners. It's a much larger issue.
Yep, thats very true and is not even something thats hidden. Many times I hear "call me on my phone, I want to tell you something."
Frankly, I dont know what there is to do about that. Theres two "trains of thought" there:
-the first is, if they are on duty and acting as a public official, they shouldnt use their personal phones to conduct official business.
-the second is, phones have a whole different set of privacy laws attached, so if they use them, then they are using a legal method of avoiding the radio - and we have no right or business to hear it.

I think that the best answer to this is to make sure that anything that will go into a report, file, etc - and is not being communicated via person-person, is done over the radio, however, in the middle of the shift and talking about what they did with their wife last night, or how the guy they arrested smelled so bad they almost puked - thats none of our business.

Obviously this can be "abused" - but thats what good leadership will prevent.
And yes, this is a huge issue that has very, very little to do with scanner or radios.

In my opinion, its a leadership failure. Problems permeate from the top down (or in some cases, side-to-side), but excluding the bad squads and teams, this is the result of years of having leaders that are giving the wrong messages, directives, and ideas to their officers. I can almost guarantee that if one were to rip a gung ho wild-west chief out of a department and replace him with a chief that cares about policing - that is community relations and safety - then that department would most likely turn around in the first few months. If the attitude that was instilled has been going on for so long, maybe they need new officers - but I think in 90% of the cases, this is regular, good-will officers doing the wrong thing because it is what they were taught or told to do.
 

bill4long

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Seems to me a good compromise between whether to have encryption or not on the routine dispatch group, is if you're going to encrypt the main dispatch, you have to provide a rebroadcasted analog transmission on ten minute delay. This provides a good balance of accountability to the public and thwarts realtime criminal usage of the information against LEOs. The riots-in-Los-Angeles example alcahuete provided earlier isn't persuasive to me given the availability of traffic apps like Waze. I would think anyone driving to work in and around Los Angeles would already be using something like that. I know I would. (Speaking as a former Angeleno myself.)
 

mmckenna

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-the first is, if they are on duty and acting as a public official, they shouldnt use their personal phones to conduct official business.
At least in this area, they aren't. They are using department issued cell phones. Often on FirstNet.

Obviously this can be "abused" - but thats what good leadership will prevent.
And yes, this is a huge issue that has very, very little to do with scanner or radios.
Kind of what I've been saying all along. This is a much larger issue than encryption.
 

mmckenna

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Seems to me a good compromise between whether to have encryption or not on the routine dispatch group, is if you're going to encrypt the main dispatch, you have to provide a rebroadcasted analog transmission on ten minute delay. This provides a good balance of accountability to the public and thwarts realtime criminal usage of the information against LEOs. The riots-in-Los-Angeles example alcahuete provided earlier isn't persuasive to me given the availability of traffic apps like Waze. I would think anyone driving to work in and around Los Angeles would already be using something like that. I know I would. (Speaking as a former Angeleno myself.)
Yeah, I agree, and I think most agencies do not have a problem with that, other than it's just another system that needs to be maintained. Any time the server went down for updates, there would be part of the public screaming about it being a big cover up of something going on. Not sure anyone would want to deal with people like that, and until it gets mandated, it probably won't happen.

As for Waze, that's my thinking. Better ways to reach the public than relying on scanner listeners. Most agencies already have active social media accounts, so it's much easier to reach the public that way, and it's going to reach a much wider audience. Asking agencies to cater to a few scanner listeners isn't going to go over well.
 

alcahuete

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The riots-in-Los-Angeles example alcahuete provided earlier isn't persuasive to me given the availability of traffic apps like Waze. I would think anyone driving to work in and around Los Angeles would already be using something like that. I know I would. (Speaking as a former Angeleno myself.)
I'm out in Palmdale/Lancaster (LA County). I had Waze and Google Maps on that very day, as I always do. Run both with my RADAR detector any time I'm driving. ;) They showed absolutely nothing. Even the local AM/FM radio stations had nothing. I don't need to persuade you, nor am I trying. I know having the LA Co. Sheriff unencrypted potentially saved my car from being damaged, maybe more!
 

bill4long

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I'm out in Palmdale/Lancaster (LA County). I had Waze and Google Maps on that very day, as I always do. Run both with my RADAR detector any time I'm driving. ;) They showed absolutely nothing. Even the local AM/FM radio stations had nothing. I don't need to persuade you, nor am I trying. I know having the LA Co. Sheriff unencrypted potentially saved my car from being damaged, maybe more!
What was the date on that? And where was the protest/riot?
 

alcahuete

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What was the date on that? And where was the protest/riot?
I don't know. Somewhere around the 1st of the month, if I recall, since my post was on the 6th. Maybe the end of May? I don't even know when all this started anymore. LOL!! There were initial riots on Avenue K, which I did know about. Everything was shut down. That was on waze and everywhere else, so I knew about that long before leaving work for the night.

The one I am talking about took place at the Antelope Valley Mall, on the corner of 10th Street West and Avenue P. Started out peaceful on the corner and then spilled out into the street.
 

bill4long

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I don't know. Somewhere around the 1st of the month, if I recall, since my post was on the 6th. Maybe the end of May? I don't even know when all this started anymore. LOL!! There were initial riots on Avenue K, which I did know about. Everything was shut down. That was on waze and everywhere else, so I knew about that long before leaving work for the night.

The one I am talking about took place at the Antelope Valley Mall, on the corner of 10th Street West and Avenue P. Started out peaceful on the corner and then spilled out into the street.
Well, I'm feeling your point a little more. A smallish city/town like Antelope Valley might not be a place where Waze would have rapid updates on such an occurrence. Or maybe anywhere, for that matter, mall riot spilling into the street. Etc. I can feel your concern.
 

alcahuete

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Well, I'm feeling your point a little more. A smallish city/town like Antelope Valley might not be a place where Waze would have rapid updates on such an occurrence. Or maybe anywhere, for that matter, mall riot spilling into the street. Etc. I can feel your concern.
Oh, it's not that small anymore. Probably changed a lot since you were last here (and not for the better). We're over 330,000 people now between Lancaster, Palmdale, and Rosamond. There used to be nothing out here at all. We used to visit a retired family friend in Lancaster many years ago, and there was literally nothing. It was a tiny retirement community in the desert, like a new Palm Springs of sorts. I have only been here 15 years, in Temecula before that, and Torrance/Palos Verdes before that.

But yeah...it's not LA busy by any stretch of the imagination. Nice and spread out, so it doesn't seem terribly crowded. Waze usually isn't bad out here, honestly, especially on the 14 freeway. A lot of commuters use it, so it's pretty Waze-heavy, at least on the freeway. I think the biggest issue with the riot I described is that a lot of people were home due to the shutdowns, and it went from peaceful to non-peaceful very quickly...literally within minutes. One minute they were on the lawn, and the next, they were in the street bashing cars.
 

657fe2

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My scanner kept me out of more mundane problems like knowing to slow down because there was a Ped ahead or Blacked out car which really could have prevented a serious collision. In LA we have dangerous pursuits almost every day and knowing the location is invaluable. to avoiding a collision. I guess your out of luck in OC, can someone explain how encrypting red does anything for officer safety? Think of how history would have been different if Reginald Denny was listening to a police scanner.
 

bill4long

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Think of how history would have been different if Reginald Denny was listening to a police scanner.
One can always find ancedotes to support a view, and maybe you are right. It would be interesting to see statistics, if there are any. I've never looked into. Only interested academically because I don't listen to scanners.
 

MTS2000des

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Dispatchers.
The dispatchers need to play a role in the changes that are needed. There was one in a recent incident that let her supervisor know that something wasn't right with the way things were going. Sounded like she got ignored. Again, attitudes need to change.
The blind allegiance to the badge thing has to stop. We have to acknowledge that there are a lot of really good cops and a few really bad ones, and a bunch in the middle. The idea that you defend your brothers/sisters at all costs even when they do something wrong has got to change. It's sort of like politics, no one wants to talk bad about their party because so many are simply 'being part of the team'. No one wants to be labeled as "not a team player". In a lot of political discussions, one of the worst places you can be is in the middle. Both sides will hate you, both sides will blame you for not being "part of the team".
As someone who works in a large, multi-agency PSAP, I am not sure this is the right direction. In our agency, we aren't under the control of any law agency. We are all civilians, including command staff. Years ago (many), the county police ran the 911 center and it was separated out to it's own agency under the Emergency Services auspice and our department director report to the county manager, county public safety director, and county commission. As we dispatch and are primary PSAP for not just county law and services, we are also the primary PSAP for 6 other law and fire jurisdictions. This was apparently done as there were citizen complaints that went unanswered and quality of service wasn't to standards which is why it was detached from the county police. Since then, we've taken on being nationally EMD certified and do our own QA for EMD, something the law discipline wouldn't want to touch with a ten foot pole. We've taken on dispatching for our EMS agency which is a private provider contracted by the state, and EMD their calls. Would never happen under a PD run model, case in point, that PSAP down the road from us being discussed on this thread (not trying to name names) is run by their city PD, and they just warm transfer EMS calls to the same provider because they don't want to "hassle with EMD".

Dispatchers and their command staff have no place in inserting themselves into telling law or fire folks what to do. If there is an issue, then the SOP is to notify their supervisor and/or watch commander. That person will then notify the appropriate command staff of the agency in question, document the issue, and turn it over to that agency command to handle. If they drop the ball, it's on them. The last thing we need is more stress on our telecommunicators placing command decisions for field units. They aren't trained, sworn, or in the right position to direct/advise those persons on anything.

Maybe it's different in PSAPs that are run by law agencies, but in our center, it isn't that way and I'm not sure I would want to go back to that model.
 
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