First to define what Longmont PD has in mind: You can expect to see all talkgroups with the exception of 'Channel 1' (9515) to be encrypted. AFAIK, that will INCLUDE 'Channel 2' (9516), though I cannot confirm this. Though the City moves at a glacial pace on many things, I'd expect this to happen sooner rather than later.
Now to the backstory:
Some have lobbied to encrypt 9515 as well. The primary reason for this is the peculiar way Longmont handles 'hot' events. All other agencies with which I've been familiar will take a serious or sensitive incident/event that develops on the primary dispatch channel to a secondary or tac channel, leaving normal traffic to the primary channel. Longmont is quite different in that regard. If a situation begins to develop on Channel 1, they will retain the escalating situation exclusively on Channel 1 (aka Code 3) and move all normal traffic to Channel 2. For that reason, some at LPD would prefer that Channel 1 also be encrypted. So far, management has resisted this. However, one wonders if they will also then change their policy regarding how they handle emerging situations and whether, like every other agency with which I am familiar, they will start to move the traffic for such things to an optional channel, leaving the primary dispatch channel for regular business.
Another issue (that it turns out they were aware of) has been the issue of encryption (or should I say, frequent lack of it) on TAC1, and even when TAC1 DTRS is encrypted, the clear signal being available on 151.22 VHF. Don't expect to see that last, either.
It is already enough of a challenge for Longmont PD to work with other agencies like the Boulder Sheriffs Department, and Longmont Emergency Unit (Volunteer Organization that is frequently called upon to help out, and even staffs its station on weekends) because of the change to DTRS. That's why they have the conventional patch, and it does help, but for events (such as parades, or call outs involving the for-mentioned agencies) it seems to be a communication nightmare. I certainly hope they consider all of this. I am glad they have kept the main dispatch channel in the clear, not only for assistance from other agencies, but for accountability to their "policing in partnership with the people" philosophy.
What's left will be the MAC channel comms and VHF Channel 1 to keep the two connected. However, it will be interesting to see what, if anything, Boulder does with DTRS on their end as an adjunct to their regular VHF comms. The mandated 2012 interop should still be driving some changes there.
Boulder was and continues to be a challenge, and is certainly being kept in mind as things move forward. Most of the folks appreciate the reason that Boulder still operates a lot of VHF gear, though I think some in Longmont wish they'd move to DTRS for the eastern part of Boulder County that isn't so line-of-sight challenged, but dual band radios are $$$. Keeping Channel 1 VHF and DTRS patched and clear certainly provides a communications path there.
There are those officers who understandably aren't interested in 'policing in partnership' when it means that knowledge of their movement is being compromised - and there are legitimate stories of how this really has occurred - but I blame that on the City's unusual 'Code 3' policy that keeps those comms on Channel 1. As I say, they may need to rethink that. Granted, calling a Code 3 means no one has to take the 2 seconds to change channels (one of the arguments in favor of Code 3), but hey...
I have also found that most departments I listen to leave " Emergent " traffic or incident on the original channel This is a good practice, If you are in the confusion of multiple units or multiple agencies running around a town at high speed in cars or on foot I don't think you want officers messing around with communications. If you know you are then going to set on a person or house for some time then you have time to set up a ops channel. This is why many are asking for delayed comms on Broadcastify. Please people, I am not trying to set this up for a encryption or delay debate.
Understood, and we don't want to go there if we don't want the entire discussion shut down by the moderator(s). So let's agree (for the sake of the continuation of the thread) that the discussion at the moment isn't specifically about encryption, but rather, the Code 3 practices that may cause issues for an unencrypted channel.
I wasn't all that specific about what I meant when I said 'serious or sensitive'. I referred to situations where there's an entire command post set-up that has resulted from an incident. I appreciate that no one wants to fiddle with a radio during a car chase. However, this is a much more common practice in Longmont than I've seen elsewhere.
Another argument against leaving Channel 1 in the clear has been the nature of some of the personal information that is moved on that channel. Most of the Code 2 traffic is of a pretty mundane nature (mostly names and birth dates), but on occasion, the level of detail goes a bit beyond that. There are those who prefer not to use the PDTs and instead keep their attention focused on a subject or subject vehicle and call in a Code 2 to get their information. One could easily argue that that kind of traffic should be being passed on Data (TG 9517) which is always encrypted, but that's just not how it works here. I'm not close enough to the situation to understand why that is the case.
I wouldn't say that the behavior of leaving an "in progress" event is all that unusual as well as sensitive information being transmitted in the clear. Some agencies in the southern Denver Metro area will routinely hold a channel to incident traffic only for extended periods of time, even keeping the channel allocated while a command structure has been setup for an incident. Command for some of these incidents often do utilize additional talkgroups for additional coordination, but retain the primary dispatch as a tactical channel for long periods of time to coordinate movements of officers.
As for running information, a lot of agencies run and transmit information on unencrypted channels routinely. Some agencies don't have a dedicated data channel so will run information on primary dispatch. Many agencies in the area that have a data channel have generally left them in the clear. Most of the time the data channels are utilized to keep the already busy primary dispatch clear of long winded information, which I believe some people who monitor appreciate not having to listen to license information all day long.
I personally believe Longmont PD's radio usage practices does not differ all that much from some of the other agencies in Colorado. What does differ between other agencies is that Longmont has a peculiar behavior of how they deploy encryption. Then again, Longmont is pretty close to Fort Collins...
Just another agency bringing up the usual bla bla to justify encryption.
Surveillance and and SWAT have a good reason. Most everything else is overblown with non-specific reasons. The real reason is probably they want to hide things from the media and public because they hate being second guessed.
Most everyone is smart enough to keep the REAL sensitive information off the radio and on cell phones.
I think it's primarily a convenience thing. While some will say "Send it to my Nextel" (not that they've had Nextel phones in quite a while), others prefer not to be bothered with using multiple methods of communication and believe that picking up the microphone should be all that's necessary to do the job.