There is NO current law that prohibits a scanner in a vehicle in California that I know of. There are some rules that govern this and that is 1. It can not be used for criminal deals. 2 You are NOT allowed to listen in on cell calls. 3 You CANNOT tell another person for the intent of doing a crime.
If you check out the California Penal Codes and the California Vehicle codes this would help you out a lot better.
In other words you can listen to the Police, Fire, FBI, CIA, Homeland Security etc. as much as you want BUT if you comitt a crime with the scanner or inform a person that is about to commit a crime this is against the law. So if you just want to listen and don't want to commit a crime listen away to your local Police.
I'm a Ham operator so there is NO restrictions for me as to having a scanner of any type in my vehicles.
I hope this has helped you out some.
Most 'anti scanner' laws are local, not statewide. They will vary from county to county, and city to city.
Your shops may have been burned by having something they installed confiscated, and they could never 'protect' against it, because you could drive from the city they're in, where it might be legal, to another a half mile away, where it isn't, and have trouble. If so, they just don't want the hassle.
Some examples, including rediculous but on the books ones:
Listening in Los Angeles
Southern California scanner listeners also have local laws to contend with. The City and County of Los Angeles both have ordinances dealing with scanners. In Los Angeles County a 1944 law still on the books makes it an infraction equip any vehicle with, or operate any vehicle equipped with, a short wave radio receiver. The ordinance defines a short wave radio receiver as any radio receiver or other device capable of receiving messages or communications transmitted on any radio transmission station operating on a frequency between 1600 kilocycles and 2500 kilocycles, or on a frequency between 30 megacycles and 40 megacycles, or between 150 megacycles and 160 megacycles.
Similarly, the City of Los Angeles in two local ordinances restricts the use of scanners within the city limits. First, SEC. 52.44 titled "Willfully listening to Police and Fire Departments portable radio messages prohibited" makes it unlawful for any person to willfully listen by means of any radio receiving device located in or upon any vehicle to any official message which is being transmitted by the Police Department or Fire Department of the City of Los Angeles or any law enforcement agency over a radio transmitting station owned or operated by such city or agency.
The City ordinance does not apply to persons to whom a permit to listen to such radio messages has been issued in writing by the Chief of Police of the City of Los Angeles. And those permits are completely discretionary, which means they may be issued after he determines that public interest will be served by the issuance of such permit but don’t have to be issued. The City law does not apply by its own language to any officer, agent, or servant of any government agency or public utility, the performance of whose duty as such officer, agent or servant, requires that he listen to such messages.
I think the problem you arerunning into is that they do not know how to do the install. So it is easy for them to say it is unlawful for you have it so then they do not have to deal with it. Have you tried with a local shop or have you only tried with CC or BB? As for who installs the radios for local FD and PD most are done by their own fleet services or radio shop.
i dont know exactly where your at, but i live here in northern california(fairfield/vallejo).
ive been here since 1990 and got bit by the scanner bug in '91. ive had Vallejo PD units who hang out at the local starbux USE my vehicle mounted scanner to get/use TX from other agencies (Solano Co. Sheriff/CHP) to help them set up something for their units to assist those angencies in what ever they may need help with, several times. Less than 1 month ago, a Vacaville PD officer noticed my BCT15 mounted in my car and said "thats one-helluva-setup" and said he wished his department had these in their cars. And lastly, a very close friend/riding buddy/colleague is a full fledged CHP officer and loves to ride in my truck whenever we go anywhere as a group because he loves to here "whats goin on" while hes off duty.
im not saying that its definately legal to have them, but if theres a law that says we cant have them, i certainly i havent heard that from anyone up here. I believe what dmingus has posted is what stands when i last looked it up. But dont quote me-like SkipSanders says-it varies from city to city-county to county.
this is whats mounted---> http://www.radioreference.com/forums/showthread.php?t=104499
You can't do it yourself? You could do a passable job by mounting the scanner either with velcro, or double sided sticky tape. Use a mag mount antenna, mount on the trunk and fish the lead-in thru the back seat, under the carpet, and up to where the scanner is. Or, mount on roof and bring lead-in thru a window. Plug dc power cord into cigar lighter.
Radar detector are not illegal, anything that interferes with radar is. What is a good scanner to mount in a vehicle?, I am looking for something that would be easy to take in and out to update/change what i'm monitoring.