If what you're wanting to monitor is something it is capable of you'll be happy with it. It's a great scanner even though it is a little older. I still have one myself and have always thought the audio had a better tone than my 996xt.
The Pro-197 is my favorite scanner. Very good FDMA decode and audio quality, better than a lot of newer scanners. It won't handle LSM well and of course it can't decode TDMA, DMR, NXDN, or anything else. And it's got a very hot and rather wide front end that makes it subject to overload and intermod if you're in a dense RF environment. But within those limits it's a great scanner. I live out in the sticks where the RF density is minimal and there's no LSM around here so it works great for me. Whether or not it will do the trick for you is a question you'll have to answer based on the conditions where you live.
Although it is an older radio, it is a first-generation descendant of the GRE Pro 96 rebranded by RadioShack which was one of the first digital scanners that blew the doors off of the Uniden BC 250d, both radios introduced in 2003.
I always enjoyed the 197, especially when type II smartzone systems were popular. It clearly had superior audio and modulation. Even though I had 2 I remember picking up four more of them for under $200 a piece when Rat Shack went out of business.
The radio was made by GRE and rebranded by RadioShack and when Whistler bought GRE they made cosmetic changes to it and sell it today as the ws1065.
I traded several 197s brand new unopened in the Box. Unfortunately my area has very heavy simulcast distortion secondary to LSM. The 197 is Phase 1 capable but unfortunately does not work in my LSM area, that's not to say that it couldn't work in other areas. All of our type II smartzone systems have been replaced with tdma Phase 2 so...
You have to look in the database and see what your needs are and if the radio will work for you.
So a quick look at Summit County Ohio and it appears as if everyone now is on the Statewide Phase 1 simulcast system. If I might suggest go to the Ohio State forum and ask around how the ws1065 works on that system and if simulcast distortion secondary to LSM is an issue for the 1065 or 197. Good luck.
Since this is an older radio, presumably your getting second hand, if its from someone local, I would suggest to be able to test drive it first with current programming from the database.
There is some encryption being used in the county and the OSP, look under MODE for De - partial and DE full encryption.
The radio will let through that encryption sound. FYI Unidens will just skip encryption and you wont hear it.
The pro 197 does indeed do a better job on simulcast than the later pro652/ws1065.
The reception on simulcast has to do with your location and where the towers are. If you are say a mile or two away from one, it may work ok based on what Ive seen around here with peoples experiences on simulcasts.
Also be sure not to have a cell tower say 3/4 or less away that can play havoc with reception on any scanner.
If it doesn't work out, your looking at any of the Uniden scanners that do better on simulcast, with the sds100 or 200 that are designed to work on simulcast, but are pricey. On any of the models apply the firmware updates that Uniden has helped with simulcast reception.
Prices lowest to generally highest:
996P2, 325P2, 436HP, Home Patrol2, 536HP, SDS 100, SDS 200
One thing is if down the road OH goes from current phase I digital to phase II the unidens will still work, the 197 wont.