Idea about encryption

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Nov 6, 2008
Littleton, CO
What would you guys think about this idea? It might do no good, but it might do some.

We ask the admins to make a sticky at the top called An Open Letter to Colorado Police Chiefs and Sheriffs Requesting Reasonable Polices Regarding Encryption. Then we could all post info about why it’s a bad idea to encrypt everything.

We would not mention streaming per the forum rules, but we could express how we agree that some encryption makes sense – like SWAT and surveillance, but that it’s a bad idea to completely lock out the very public that they are protecting.

I know some might think they will never read it and maybe so, but I think there are a lot of people in public safety that agree with this and who read this site and maybe they would point it out to their bosses?

We would keep it respectful and polite and just point out the legitimate reasons. Some that come to mind off the bat………………….

Yes some criminals listen, but not that many compared to the law abiding citizens who do.

The public has been listening to police calls for something like 80 plus years and there’s hardly ever a story about a bad thing happening because of it. That’s a lot of listening with a lot of agencies, so why all of a sudden is it needed now? Just because it’s cheaper? Just because you can do something does it mean you should?

Real examples of times when scanner listeners have helped law enforcement. I think it’s more times than when they've interfered with them.

An informed public is a safer public than a public whose police operate in secrecy. If people know what’s going on around their area they can stay away from dangerous situations. If there are evacuations in an area because of fires or other reasons people can prepare instead of waiting for a knock on the door. You can’t count on the media to always be on top of it and people might be listening to the scanner and not the TV.

The public has a greater respect for law enforcement if it knows what they’re doing. That respect could easily be lost if they start being secretive.

There are a lot of people in public safety who also listen for different reasons – maybe to know what’s going on in a town nearby, maybe because they have a relative working for an agency.

Some things need to be kept secret because of safety concerns or privacy reasons, but those shouldn't be exaggerated. It’s not black and white and there should be tradeoffs.

With other technology today – like computers in the cars and cell phones, there should be less of a reason to encrypt the patrol stuff.

Examples of agencies around the country that have a reasonable policy. Some even have their own feed on their Web site. Not sure if they still do but Boulder used to put their frequencies to listen to on their Web site. They sure don’t have an issue with us.

You get the idea, I’m sure plenty of people could add more.

It’s not voting because we don’t get to vote about this, but you know the saying about don’t complain if you don’t vote. Maybe this is a way to have our voices heard since we don’t have an organized movement or any money backing. I think that scanner listeners in the past have convinced certain agencies to keep their patrol stuff open. Maybe there are examples of that that could be posted.

Just an idea I had after the recent sad turn of things with some agencies here. What do you think?


Jul 9, 2005
Fort Collins, CO
Most all of them in Colorado monitor RR just like they watch Facebook and other social media.
They use the technology to gather information that is of use to the service they provide.

Everybody knows by now that anything sent through the internet is public information (whether they wanted it to be so or not).

The Spud


Forums Manager/Global DB Admin
Staff member
Jun 26, 2001
Central Ontario
Why don't you approach them about hosting an official feed on Radioreference?

Since it's an official feed, they can delay it which should alleviate officer safety concerns.
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