Scanner in car/while walking illegal?

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iceman977th

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Okay, so I was at my friend's house tonight and he had a seizure and wasn't coming back like he was supposed to, so we called 911 and I had my scanner with me. I was listening to monitor when they would be showing up, and soon enough a local PD officer and a med unit arrived. While we were waiting for the ambulance to leave and head for the hospital, the PD officer (which happened to be my sister's friend's dad) said that it was illegal to walk around with a scanner or have one in your car. Mine was a simple Pro-404 scanner I use to monitor EMS and rail frequencies, it won't transmit in any form or fashion, and I can't find anything online that says it...is it really illegal to have a radio scanner?
 

arvellabill

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Iceman;
I know nothing about Ky Laws although I heard many years ago that there was a law in ky about this. It seems that Mass. and NJ also had a no scanner law in a vehicle, I recall that the law was challanged and the law was found to be illegal. This may give you some basics for a search on the legality of this law
WHD
 

AJAT

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Mobile Scanner & RADAR-Detector Laws In The U.S. - Kentucky Scanner Law

You are not allowed to hace a scanner in your vehicle unless:

An individual who possesses such a radio, provided it is
capable of receiving radio transmissions only and is not
capable of sending or transmitting radio messages, at his
place of residence; licensed commercial auto towing trucks;
newspaper reporters and photographers; emergency management
agency personnel authorized in writing by the director of
the division of emergency management (for state personnel)
or chief executive of the city or county (for their
respective personnel); a person holding a valid license
issued by the Federal Communications Commission in the
amateur radio service; peace officers authorized in writing
by the head of their law enforcement agency, Commonwealth's
attorneys and their assistants, county attorneys and their
assistants, except that it shall be unlawful to use such
radio to facilitate any criminal activity or to avoid
apprehension by law enforcement officers. Violation of this
section shall, in addition to any other penalty prescribed
by law, result in a forfeiture to the local law enforcement
agency of such radio.
 

iceman977th

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Mobile Scanner & RADAR-Detector Laws In The U.S. - Kentucky Scanner Law

You are not allowed to hace a scanner in your vehicle unless:

An individual who possesses such a radio, provided it is
capable of receiving radio transmissions only and is not
capable of sending or transmitting radio messages, at his
place of residence; licensed commercial auto towing trucks;
newspaper reporters and photographers; emergency management
agency personnel authorized in writing by the director of
the division of emergency management (for state personnel)
or chief executive of the city or county (for their
respective personnel); a person holding a valid license
issued by the Federal Communications Commission in the
amateur radio service; peace officers authorized in writing
by the head of their law enforcement agency, Commonwealth's
attorneys and their assistants, county attorneys and their
assistants, except that it shall be unlawful to use such
radio to facilitate any criminal activity or to avoid
apprehension by law enforcement officers. Violation of this
section shall, in addition to any other penalty prescribed
by law, result in a forfeiture to the local law enforcement
agency of such radio.
So, simply put...? Lol
 

unitcharlie

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So, simply put.... if you don't meet one of the exemptions then your radios can be confiscated summarily. The crux of the biscuit, as Mr. Zappo pointed out frequently, is this:
Violation of this section shall, in addition to any other penalty prescribed by law, result in a forfeiture to the local law enforcement agency of such radio.
This forfeiture occurs at the time of the infraction so your radio is gone...
This has been discussed in at least a couple of threads in the Kentucky Forum including one that is a sticky (Mobile Scanner Legality Question) and another that ran it's course (ky mobile laws)....
 

iceman977th

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So, simply put.... if you don't meet one of the exemptions then your radios can be confiscated summarily. The crux of the biscuit, as Mr. Zappo pointed out frequently, is this:
This forfeiture occurs at the time of the infraction so your radio is gone...
This has been discussed in at least a couple of threads in the Kentucky Forum including one that is a sticky (Mobile Scanner Legality Question) and another that ran it's course (ky mobile laws)....
Well, from the way I read it, one of the exemptions is that it only receives and doesn't transmit, so if I read it right, I'm fine...right?
 

dbsar

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OK Iceman997th, here's your solution..."a person holding a valid license
issued by the Federal Communications Commission in the
amateur radio service". Become a Ham!
 

ofd8001

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Here's a link to the actual statute:

http://www.lrc.ky.gov/KRS/432-00/570.PDF

The operative words are: "to have in his or her possession, or in an automobile or other vehicle, or to equip or install in or on any automobile. . ."

A long time ago we had a firefighter get is portable scanner confiscated by a state trooper while he was walking around with it. I think he ultimately got it back, but had to jump through some hoops.

So yes, you can get nailed for walking around with one and especially having one in a vehicle. However, it's like speeding. You can go 1 mile over the limit and probably won't be looked at, but at 21, you're in trouble. The more discrete you are, and the less attention you call to yourself is probably the deciding factor.
 

wuzafuzz

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Wow. I can carry my gun in KY with my CO CCW permit, but strap on a scanner and the Thought Police want blood. Fortunately I'm also a ham but these laws, and the fact that people accept them, are ridiculous!

I was a cop and crime scene guy for about 10 years. Not once did I see or hear of a scanner being involved in a crime. Sure, it happens, but it's not that big a deal. Especially in a day and age where encryption is readily available.
 

XTS3000

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A local crossing guard went to our PD and asked if it was OK for her to carry a scanner while helping the kids cross the street safely. This crossing guard was concerned if there were to be a high speed chase in town, she could better protect and maybe even save a childs life. Local police told her NO, its illegal to carry a scanner outside PERIOD.

BTW, the crossing guards go through a long criminal screening process, so I know she is not a criminal.
 

eaf1956

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Wait till they take people I-Phones for listening to scanner feeds while walking. Big Brother don't want you to know what HE is up to. lol
 

iceman977th

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Wait till they take people I-Phones for listening to scanner feeds while walking. Big Brother don't want you to know what HE is up to. lol
Haha, exactly, so we can't carry a scanner but they allow people to broadcast scanner feeds, let alone listen to them, from home? I was told you can have a regular receive-only scanner as long as you had no way of transmitting in any way to interfere with emergency transmissions.
 

n1das

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Local police told her NO, its illegal to carry a scanner outside PERIOD.
How does KY state law get around the "it shall not be unlawful" clause in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA'86)? ECPA '86 (federal law) specifically states that it SHALL NOT be unlawful to monitor public safety radio communications.

There's an easy solution as others have pointed out: Get your HAM license!
 

wx4svr

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How does KY state law get around the "it shall not be unlawful" clause in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA'86)? ECPA '86 (federal law) specifically states that it SHALL NOT be unlawful to monitor public safety radio communications.

There's an easy solution as others have pointed out: Get your HAM license!
Got my Amateur radio license... (wx4svr... 73's :D) and I've got my iPhone apps. My scanner stays at home. I'm good to go. :wink:
 

unitcharlie

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Plz forgive this lengthy response, I feel the need to ascend my soapbox.... If you live in Kentucky and have a question about scanning in Kentucky plz talk with someone from Kentucky who knows the law and the climate, otherwise it could become a costly mistake.... No, this is not an attempt to squash debate, rather it is an attempt to stop needless debate. The difference between opinion and fact regarding where one may scan in Kentucky is very costly potentially.... read on.
I was a cop and crime scene guy for about 10 years. Not once did I see or hear of a scanner being involved in a crime. Sure, it happens, but it's not that big a deal. Especially in a day and age where encryption is readily available.
[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]Thank you for that observation.... the majority of folks I know with scanners are listening for their entertainment, security or because their job requires them to know what is happening around them (yes, people ranging from public safety to media)....[/FONT]

[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]Please understand, I am not a member of the Bar in Kentucky nor do I attempt to impersonate any such person; I am an avid scannist and have tried to become as familiar with the so-called Kentucky “Scanner Law” for my protection and the safety of my equipment and the facilitation of my professional endeavors and those of my colleagues.... My information is based upon personal experience and the experiences of others regarding their use of scanners outside their homes... That said, the scanning climate in Kentucky is vexing at best. If, for example, an auto race enthusiast visits the Northern Kentucky Speedway with Racing Scanner in hand, there is a distinct possibility that scanner could be taken because it is capable of receiving police frequencies (whether they are programmed or not) if the person bearing said scanner doesn't meet one of the exemptions and can prove it on the spot. You folks who can't cite Chapter and Verse please don't muddy the already turgid water with opinions, those are for a Court of Law and, if you will read the following paragraph (as with any legal statement, read the entire paragraph) you will see the potential futility of opinion versus fact when faced with the immediate, summary confiscation of your equipment (my emphasis added):[/FONT]
[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]KRS 432.570[/FONT][FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif](3) It shall be the duty of any and all peace officers to seize and hold for evidence any and all equipment had or used in violation of the provisions of this section, and, upon conviction of the person having, equipping or using such equipment, it shall be the duty of the trial court to order such equipment or apparatus destroyed, forfeited, or escheated to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, [/FONT][FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]and said property may be ordered destroyed, forfeited, or escheated as above provided without a conviction of the person charged with violating this section.[/FONT]

[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]The action that shouts at me is the final clause concerning the destruction of property (scanners) WITHOUT a conviction.... as pointed out above, if you are stopped, on foot or in a vehicle—any place but YOUR RESIDENCE with a scanner (a radio capable of receiving police frequencies) and do not meet one of the few exemptions as enumerated in Paragraph 4 (shown below for easy reference) you face loss of your radios WITHOUT a conviction. Your choice is simple: meet one of the exemptions and be able to prove it on the spot or the Commonwealth of Kentucky suddenly owns your radio equipment, period. The option begins with the Law Enforcement Officer making initial contact and does not require a conviction. [/FONT]

[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]KRS 432.570[/FONT][FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif](4) Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit the possession of a radio by:[/FONT]
[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif](a) An individual who is a retailer or wholesaler and in the ordinary course of his business offers such radios for sale or resale;[/FONT]
[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif](b) A commercial or educational radio or television station, licensed by the Federal Communications Commission, at its place of business; or[/FONT]
[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif](c) An individual who possesses such a radio, provided it is capable of receiving radio transmissions only and is not capable of sending or transmitting radio messages, at his place of residence; licensed commercial auto towing trucks; newspaper reporters and photographers; emergency management agency personnel authorized in writing by the director of the division of emergency management (for state personnel) or chief executive of the city or county (for their respective personnel); a person holding a valid license issued by the Federal Communications Commission in the amateur radio service; peace officers authorized in writing by the head of their law enforcement agency, Commonwealth's attorneys and their assistants, county attorneys and their assistants, except that it shall be unlawful to use such radio to facilitate any criminal activity or to avoid apprehension by law enforcement officers.[/FONT]
[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]Violation of this section shall, in addition to any other penalty prescribed by law, result in a forfeiture to the local law enforcement agency of such radio. [/FONT]

Iceman;
I know nothing about Ky Laws although I heard many years ago that there was a law in ky about this. It seems that Mass. and NJ also had a no scanner law in a vehicle, I recall that the law was challanged and the law was found to be illegal. This may give you some basics for a search on the legality of this law
WHD
[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]There have been attempts to repeal or modify the law and those have been met with great gnashing of teeth, consternation and doom-saying, alas the law remains, a vestige of a repressive past....[/FONT]

[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]
How does KY state law get around the "it shall not be unlawful" clause in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA'86)? ECPA '86 (federal law) specifically states that it SHALL NOT be unlawful to monitor public safety radio communications.

There's an easy solution as others have pointed out: Get your HAM license!
[/FONT]
[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]Under Kentucky's law it is not illegal to possess and use a scanner at home so the law isn't violated ([FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif](c) An individual who possesses such a radio, provided it is capable of receiving radio transmissions only and is not capable of sending or transmitting radio messages, at his place of residence)[/FONT][FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif].[/FONT].. The sound advise: get a Ham Ticket and be done with it, there are plenty of Ham Clubs in Kentucky (if you are interested contact me off line and I will assist you in finding one nearby) that will assist you in your quest and will offer uses for your ticket....[/FONT]

Here's a link to the actual statute:
http://www.lrc.ky.gov/KRS/432-00/570.PDF
The operative words are: "to have in his or her possession, or in an automobile or other vehicle, or to equip or install in or on any automobile. . ."
A long time ago we had a firefighter get is portable scanner confiscated by a state trooper while he was walking around with it. I think he ultimately got it back, but had to jump through some hoops.
So yes, you can get nailed for walking around with one and especially having one in a vehicle. However, it's like speeding. You can go 1 mile over the limit and probably won't be looked at, but at 21, you're in trouble. The more discrete you are, and the less attention you call to yourself is probably the deciding factor.

[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]As always, the Chief gives good counsel....[/FONT]

[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]Bottomline, if you live in Kentucky please talk with someone from Kentucky who knows the law when looking for information about use of your scanning radio here.... [/FONT][FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif] otherwise, [/FONT][FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]the price can be very high![/FONT]
 

iceman977th

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Plz forgive this lengthy response, I feel the need to ascend my soapbox.... If you live in Kentucky and have a question about scanning in Kentucky plz talk with someone from Kentucky who knows the law and the climate, otherwise it could become a costly mistake.... No, this is not an attempt to squash debate, rather it is an attempt to stop needless debate. The difference between opinion and fact regarding where one may scan in Kentucky is very costly potentially.... read on.

[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]Thank you for that observation.... the majority of folks I know with scanners are listening for their entertainment, security or because their job requires them to know what is happening around them (yes, people ranging from public safety to media)....[/FONT]

[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]Please understand, I am not a member of the Bar in Kentucky nor do I attempt to impersonate any such person; I am an avid scannist and have tried to become as familiar with the so-called Kentucky “Scanner Law” for my protection and the safety of my equipment and the facilitation of my professional endeavors and those of my colleagues.... My information is based upon personal experience and the experiences of others regarding their use of scanners outside their homes... That said, the scanning climate in Kentucky is vexing at best. If, for example, an auto race enthusiast visits the Northern Kentucky Speedway with Racing Scanner in hand, there is a distinct possibility that scanner could be taken because it is capable of receiving police frequencies (whether they are programmed or not) if the person bearing said scanner doesn't meet one of the exemptions and can prove it on the spot. You folks who can't cite Chapter and Verse please don't muddy the already turgid water with opinions, those are for a Court of Law and, if you will read the following paragraph (as with any legal statement, read the entire paragraph) you will see the potential futility of opinion versus fact when faced with the immediate, summary confiscation of your equipment (my emphasis added):[/FONT]
[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]KRS 432.570[/FONT][FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif](3) It shall be the duty of any and all peace officers to seize and hold for evidence any and all equipment had or used in violation of the provisions of this section, and, upon conviction of the person having, equipping or using such equipment, it shall be the duty of the trial court to order such equipment or apparatus destroyed, forfeited, or escheated to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, [/FONT][FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]and said property may be ordered destroyed, forfeited, or escheated as above provided without a conviction of the person charged with violating this section.[/FONT]

[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]The action that shouts at me is the final clause concerning the destruction of property (scanners) WITHOUT a conviction.... as pointed out above, if you are stopped, on foot or in a vehicle—any place but YOUR RESIDENCE with a scanner (a radio capable of receiving police frequencies) and do not meet one of the few exemptions as enumerated in Paragraph 4 (shown below for easy reference) you face loss of your radios WITHOUT a conviction. Your choice is simple: meet one of the exemptions and be able to prove it on the spot or the Commonwealth of Kentucky suddenly owns your radio equipment, period. The option begins with the Law Enforcement Officer making initial contact and does not require a conviction. [/FONT]

[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]KRS 432.570[/FONT][FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif](4) Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit the possession of a radio by:[/FONT]
[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif](a) An individual who is a retailer or wholesaler and in the ordinary course of his business offers such radios for sale or resale;[/FONT]
[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif](b) A commercial or educational radio or television station, licensed by the Federal Communications Commission, at its place of business; or[/FONT]
[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif](c) An individual who possesses such a radio, provided it is capable of receiving radio transmissions only and is not capable of sending or transmitting radio messages, at his place of residence; licensed commercial auto towing trucks; newspaper reporters and photographers; emergency management agency personnel authorized in writing by the director of the division of emergency management (for state personnel) or chief executive of the city or county (for their respective personnel); a person holding a valid license issued by the Federal Communications Commission in the amateur radio service; peace officers authorized in writing by the head of their law enforcement agency, Commonwealth's attorneys and their assistants, county attorneys and their assistants, except that it shall be unlawful to use such radio to facilitate any criminal activity or to avoid apprehension by law enforcement officers.[/FONT]
[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]Violation of this section shall, in addition to any other penalty prescribed by law, result in a forfeiture to the local law enforcement agency of such radio. [/FONT]


[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]There have been attempts to repeal or modify the law and those have been met with great gnashing of teeth, consternation and doom-saying, alas the law remains, a vestige of a repressive past....[/FONT]

[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif] [/FONT]
[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]Under Kentucky's law it is not illegal to possess and use a scanner at home so the law isn't violated ([FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif](c) An individual who possesses such a radio, provided it is capable of receiving radio transmissions only and is not capable of sending or transmitting radio messages, at his place of residence)[/FONT][FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif].[/FONT].. The sound advise: get a Ham Ticket and be done with it, there are plenty of Ham Clubs in Kentucky (if you are interested contact me off line and I will assist you in finding one nearby) that will assist you in your quest and will offer uses for your ticket....[/FONT]


[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]As always, the Chief gives good counsel....[/FONT]

[FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]Bottomline, if you live in Kentucky please talk with someone from Kentucky who knows the law when looking for information about use of your scanning radio here.... [/FONT][FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif] otherwise, [/FONT][FONT=Century Gothic, sans-serif]the price can be very high![/FONT]
Thanks for that. Well, screw it, I'll just turn off the emergency broadcasts when on the road and just listen to rail and air. They can't say anything about that. :D
 

n1das

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Whenever I listen while mobile or walking around in KY, I will be listening to public safety comms on my P25 digital and/or NEXEDGE digital 2-way radios since they are my ham equipment and therefore the federal preemption of state anti-scanner laws applies.

Since I am a licensed ham and easily prove it (keep copy of license with me at all times), I qualify under the exemption in KY's law. Since I'm listening on my ham transceivers (all non-ham freqs programmed as RX-only of course) and not on my scanners, the ham federal preemption of KY's law also applies, whether or not KY's law has an exemption for licensed hams.

Don't listen to anything I wouldn't listen to. <wink>
 
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eaf1956

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Scanner

Haha, exactly, so we can't carry a scanner but they allow people to broadcast scanner feeds, let alone listen to them, from home? I was told you can have a regular receive-only scanner as long as you had no way of transmitting in any way to interfere with emergency transmissions.
They don't want you to even listen to one that can in no way transmit. Most "Scanners" don't transmit they only recieve. Granted interfering with Public Safety conmunication is another subject completely. The whole concept is so "criminals" won't use scanners to evade police. The thing is "criminals" don't obey the law anyway, thus the name.

KC9LVX

P.S. In another forum ILLINOIS wants to BAN rebroadcasting scanner feeds
 

ofd8001

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While I'm sure it gives us some satisfaction to vent in this forum, and I've been known to do that myself, the very best thing that can be done is all you Kentucky folks call your legislator, and tell them you'd like to see a change in the law. The toll free number to leave your legislator a message is: 1-800-372-7181.

Not only is the present law lacking in wisdom, it is woefully out of date with new technology and really goes against the grain of everything we've learned over the years regarding interoperability. In theory, they encourage the fire service to have the ability to speak with police via radio. A lot of things have been done to accommodate that including the federal government coughing up grants. Unfortunately, it may make every emergency responder other than a police officer, a technical violator of the law. If I take my portable radio, which can transmit on frequencies subject to use by police (as in mutual aid channels), in my personal vehicle, I've just violated the law even though 999 out of 1000 people with common sense would think a fire chief having his radio with him is reasonable and prudent.

Not only that, a police officer, in theory cannot take his portable radio with him in his personal vehicle. So what happens if he's in a position he has to take action, and he needs help?

However, the bottom line is this. "No one ever said laws have to be sensible."
 

unitcharlie

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While I'm sure it gives us some satisfaction to vent in this forum, and I've been known to do that myself, the very best thing that can be done is all you Kentucky folks call your legislator, and tell them you'd like to see a change in the law. The toll free number to leave your legislator a message is: 1-800-372-7181.
Once again, good words from the Chief! For what it is worth, during the Ice Storm of 2009 there were numerous out-of-state First Responders deployed to the hardest hit areas... many of them were using scanners exactly as the Chief has described.. They programmed freqs for various agencies where they were serving so they had some sort of communications (I know of quite a few who used the resources provided by rr.com to make their research much easier). And, under the current Kentucky Law those who weren't licensed or otherwise exempt were violating the law...

Since I am a licensed ham and easily prove it (keep copy of license with me at all times), I qualify under the exemption in KY's law. Since I'm listening on my ham transceivers (all non-ham freqs programmed as RX-only of course) and not on my scanners, the ham federal preemption of KY's law also applies, whether or not KY's law has an exemption for licensed hams.
Plz don't take this the wrong way, but you missed the point of everything I have written.... The way the law is written a police officer can take your gear and the Commonwealth of Kentucky can keep it or destroy it without a conviction... You have an exemption and carry your ticket with you... but you also need to carry a copy of the Kentucky law with you.... This is one of the big problems with the KY Scanner Law.... and regardless of any other law once your radios are gone they are gone and you will have to fight to get them back or get replacements for them if they are destroyed.... You folks who don't have to deal with this don't fully understand the problem and because you make light of the problem it puts scannists in Kentucky in the position where they don't know what is going to happen until it is too late if they don't meet an exemption.
Once again, simply put: If you have a scanner outside your home and you don't meet one of the exemptions as noted in KRS 432.570 and can't prove that you meet one of the emeptions ON THE SPOT; you will most likely, at the very least, have your radio gear confiscated. Once confiscated IT CAN BE DESTROYED without a conviction.... ECPA'86 and others notwithstanding, you are out your radios.... Police recruits in this state are taught that scanners are illegal and most are not familiar with the KRS nor the exemptions therein.... I know members of the media who have either had their scanners confiscated or attempts have been made to confiscate them; I know fire fighters whose personal radios (because their departments can't afford to buy them radios) have been taken...
 
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