Helping law enforcement based on info gathered from scanner

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unixfreak0037

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A hypothetical example: say someone robs a bank, dispatch describes the car and individual, I later look out my window and see the person they're looking for...

... do I call 911 and say "hey I heard you over my police scanner and I see the guy you're looking for." ?

Is that frowned upon? Any law enforcement people on this forum who can answer this? Hope I put this question in the right place. There doesn't seem to be a "law enforcement monitoring" forum.

John
 

timkilbride

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In the past I have started by saying, "I overheard. . . ." then tell additional info that is useful to them that they don't already know.

Tim K.
 

SCPD

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A hypothetical example: say someone robs a bank, dispatch describes the car and individual, I later look out my window and see the person they're looking for...

... do I call 911 and say "hey I heard you over my police scanner and I see the guy you're looking for." ?

Is that frowned upon? Any law enforcement people on this forum who can answer this? Hope I put this question in the right place. There doesn't seem to be a "law enforcement monitoring" forum.

John
I think as long as you don't play cop yourself or interfere, you're okay calling and giving them information.
 

SCPD

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Make the call

A hypothetical example: say someone robs a bank, dispatch describes the car and individual, I later look out my window and see the person they're looking for...

... do I call 911 and say "hey I heard you over my police scanner and I see the guy you're looking for." ?

Is that frowned upon? Any law enforcement people on this forum who can answer this? Hope I put this question in the right place. There doesn't seem to be a "law enforcement monitoring" forum.

John
Myself, I would make the call, but describe the car and just say it's driving recklessly or something. By describing the car, they know you are talking about the car you are looking for. Although the roller would greatly appreciate it, and not really care that you heard it on your scanner, some paper pusher that has never keyed a mike may take issue to it, or the radio vendor hear about it, and use it as another angle to sell a unlistenable (and highly profitable) new system.
 

kma371

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Myself, I would make the call, but describe the car and just say it's driving recklessly or something. By describing the car, they know you are talking about the car you are looking for. Although the roller would greatly appreciate it, and not really care that you heard it on your scanner, some paper pusher that has never keyed a mike may take issue to it, or the radio vendor hear about it, and use it as another angle to sell a unlistenable (and highly profitable) new system.
I disagree completely. Why lie? Just tell them you heard it on the scanner. No big deal.

L.E. for 10 years
 

SCPD

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Re:

Yeah Id say I over heard that you guys were looking for some one. People tell this to us all the time. It helps. But were going encrypted soon which I think is dumb since most of the criminals here are caught by people calling in. Can see using it as necessary when called for but 24/7, no.
 

RadioDaze

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Every time a scanner listener gives the PD a useful tip that helps them do their job more effectively, it probably creates more goodwill that will eventually breed advocates of our hobby in high places.

On the other hand, every scanner listener who interferes in some way has the opposite effect.

Yes, I would report that vehicle quickly and honestly.

Of course, in my case, being in an encrypted zone, I would promptly be arrested :)
 

sjlamb

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I'm sorry but this is simply a goofy question. Of course you would call it in... unless you were a total chowderhead. Makes me wonder if you would waffle so if you saw a child being snatched. God help us all.
 
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kb2vxa

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In a city where I used to live I had that occasion, got ragged out by the dispatcher, told him what to do with himself and gloated when the subject made a clean getaway. I vowed never to do it again but since I moved and the cops here went encrypted it all became moot so either way they're on their own. Cut your own throat and I'll just watch you bleed.
 

colby4601

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Wasn't intended as sarcasm at all. Just observing that if a transmission were encrypted, no scanner listener could be in violation of ECPA for "eavesdropping" on that communication because they have no means of interception .
I was talking about the post you were replying to. It's called sarcasm.
 

RadioDaze

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Actually, it's a good point being made here, even if you guys don't realize you're making it... if you have access to information that you are not supposed to have, how does that change what you do with the info? I recently saw an episode of Andy Griffith, or whatever it's called, in which little Ronnie "Opie" Howard and his friend used a tape recorder to bug the cell a bank robber was being held in. They recorded his admission of guilt to his lawyer. Opie tried to tell the Good Sheriff, and he wouldn't allow it to be told to him (because it was the 50s, when we still had laws and "24" wasn't on the air yet.)

So, if I did overhear encrypted transmissions, I'm obviously doing something I shouldn't be doing. (Assume that it's not impossible; I perhaps have a purloined radidio.) And what do I do with that knowledge if it intersects with my observation? In this case, I'd have to take Wyandotte's way out to cover my own bottom: "I would make the call, but describe the car and just say it's driving recklessly or something."
 

slicerwizard

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do I call 911 and say "hey I heard you over my police scanner and I see the guy you're looking for." ?
Depends on where you live. Some places are ok with that. Others, like here in TO, get uppity when they hear the S word. That is, unless you tell them you're media or a tow driver - then they're cool 'cuz in their mind you're a legitimate listener rather than a perv voyeur. Unreal.
 

hvscan

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Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry9530/5.0.0.328 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/105)

Had a scanner listener call in the location of a robbery suspect once. Helped us in our locating and arresting the individual.
 

dracer777

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Here in CO(Greeley and Lafayette/Boulder County area), I have called many things in ranging from DUIs to drug deals to suspicious vehicles, etc...

Almost every time I call something in, I end up talking with the officer and the scanner topic almost always comes up.

I have been told by many officers that they like the public having scanners. One officer described a listening citizen as "another set of eyes and ears".

Most of the law enforcement I have dealt with is either neutral or has a positive stance on law-abiding citizens having scanner(s). I have never had an issue with a dispatcher or officer knowing that I am listening.
 

midnightcaller

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I have done that quit a few times I have called 911 and told them I spotted the car or person you are looking for when they ask me how I found out or heard about it I tell them I have a scanner and they say thank you for letting us know
 
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