I spent some time attempting to reach out to Chief Sirois and the city's Board of Commissioners to make a case for reconsidering this decision. I hope that an honest, open dialogue can be held that will help these folks understand that there is another side to the encryption story. In my family, we actually rely on information from calls being dispatched to avoid traffic incidents and other working calls, thereby increasing officer safety. I also attempted to make the case that the City officers are some of the most professional individuals I have ever received service from in any capacity, and their professionalism is evident to all who listen to their radio traffic. Encrypting the general dispatch talkgroup does not do any favors for maintaining transparency and public trust, which is vital if the Department wants to form a true partnership with the citizens. I will keep this thread posted if I receive any meaningful responses or if there might be additional opportunities to tactfully help decision-makers understand that there are some very real drawbacks to encrypting a general dispatch talkgroup.
Thank you for the information, I 100% agree with all that you said, I would add, that the citizens in 99% of the cases, are an additional set of eyes and ears for the law enforcement to assist them and provide information. Having gone to full time encryption has taken that resource away from both departments. Having been the system administrator for two large VA localities' radio systems, encryption was available as it was for the JCPD and WCSO, but mostly all transmissions were in the clear and we relied on the citizens monitoring our system to provide that extra piece of information..
My guess is that if you get a response from anyone, they will point to "some threat" for the case of going encrypted. Again thank you and I look forward to any information that you can provide.
Encryption on dispatch channels is akin to the days when law enforcement began using motor vehicles. Both take officers away from public contact in their respective ways.
The modern community policing programs grew out of lack of positive public contact (mingling) by law enforcement. This is a direct result of taking them out of the public eye by putting them in vehicles all those many years ago.
Wonder how long it will take officials to figure this out in relation to the extra eyes and ears of the public?
Personally, to me, encryption is the same as violating the open meeting act. But, to be fair, i understand law enforcement's lack of trust and faith in the public they serve too.