Montgomery County moving to full-encryption on May 3

W5NIO

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Just wanted to give everyone a heads up (no discussion intended) that The Montgomery County Sheriff's office will fully encrypt all of their talk groups, including dispatch, on May 3. This is a defined date, unlike the rumors earlier this year. Wreckers will now fully be dispatched via a cell phone app, and no longer have a reason to have access to dispatch audio. They were scheduled to encrypt on Jan 1, but the tow rotation policy had major issues and they had to use the chip system in some locations. All fire & MCHD talk groups, aside from a handful of admin channels, will still remain in the clear. You will likely be able to listen to Magnolia PD dispatch since they have in-house daytime dispatch, but other than that, all law enforcement (aside from DPS) will be completely encrypted. Consider this when purchasing a digital scanner.

Sources: Internal with MCSO (anonymous for privacy) and Scott J. Engle
 

W5NIO

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UPDATE: As of 8:22 AM 5/3, units have been told to switch to new channels respective to their districts. These new channels have AES-256 (unsure if OTAR), and the old ones will be abandoned. They are now fully in the dark. Will try to get more information on whether or not media will have the ability to purchase system radios or not. Conroe did something similar a few years back but since it's Conroe, don't think any agencies had enough money or really, desire, to purchase them.
 

GShock75

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UPDATE: As of 8:22 AM 5/3, units have been told to switch to new channels respective to their districts. These new channels have AES-256 (unsure if OTAR), and the old ones will be abandoned. They are now fully in the dark. Will try to get more information on whether or not media will have the ability to purchase system radios or not. Conroe did something similar a few years back but since it's Conroe, don't think any agencies had enough money or really, desire, to purchase them.
Thank you sir, I have been hearing a small amount of chatter over the 536 from Conroe PD and DPS, but it's been super quiet compared to normal, any updates with be very appreciated.
 

KG1ADP

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not sure how you are hearing Conroe PD they are 100% encrypted.
 

kc5voa

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magnolia, tx
I didn't see your post until after I posted mine. Have you read or think that the entire TWARN system will go this way?
 

W5NIO

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I didn't see your post until after I posted mine. Have you read or think that the entire TWARN system will go this way?
No. Encryption, specifically OTAR, is ~$700+ a radio. Smaller agencies cannot afford that. I am amazed that MCCO Pct 1 finally upgraded to APX's, as they have been using XTS5Ks for YEARS. Their budget is barely over a million per year so this must have been a major purchase for them.

I have noticed more activity on unencrypted channels on municipal PD channels. I don't think many of the municipal/constable agencies fancy this move. Maybe I am wrong, but I could see many chiefs/constables not agreeing with the decision, but being forced to do so in order to keep dispatch.
 

W5NIO

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Thank you sir, I have been hearing a small amount of chatter over the 536 from Conroe PD and DPS, but it's been super quiet compared to normal, any updates with be very appreciated.
Speaking of Conroe PD, they have a patch on their system to both SO 1 and 2, as well as several ops/talk channels, I wonder if they had to temporarily kill those or if they got everyone programmed in time.
 

W5NIO

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Thank you sir, I have been hearing a small amount of chatter over the 536 from Conroe PD and DPS, but it's been super quiet compared to normal, any updates with be very appreciated.
Conroe just added patches earlier this week to ALL 6 SO dispatch and tac channels. They now have full interop with the TxWARN system in Montgomery County, and can now all easily interop with agencies. Might as well join the system already!
 
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