Scanner Law

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wogggieee

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I'm sorry if this has been asked a number of times or seems like a stupid question. But i couldn't find a straight answer from anyone. Is there a law in Wisconsin limiting the use of scanners or other radios capable of receiving police transmissions similar to what MI used to have and what MN currently has? I am a licensed ham so I'd think I'd be OK with that if there were a law. But i drive through WI a lot and just wanted to verify so i don't have problems down the road, no pun intended. Thanks.
 

RevGary

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Nothing statewide, in fact some police agencies have provided streaming audio from their own dispatch centers. I remember that Kenosha County used to do that, but it may have changed ? ? ? Certain LOCAL communities have ordinances in place requlating the use of 'radios capable of monitoring law enforcement frequencies'. No standard database lists them all that I have ever been able to locate.

Use this link below for reference but please understand the the MICHIGAN law info, as listed, is not up to date. The Michigan law as it applies to LAW ABIDING CITIZENS was repealed on June 01, 2006.

http://www.ncsl.org/programs/transportation/radar.htm#table2
 

wogggieee

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RevGary said:
Use this link below for reference but please understand the the MICHIGAN law info, as listed, is not up to date. The Michigan law as it applies to LAW ABIDING CITIZENS was repealed on June 01, 2006.

http://www.ncsl.org/programs/transportation/radar.htm#table2
Thanks for the info. I've read about the MI changing their laws. I was ok beforehand anyways, but with the modified law hopefully there would be less confusion.
 

wogggieee

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Also, forgot ot ask in the previous one, are you aware of any areas in the north west WI area that i should be aware of? I mainly go through burnett, sawyer, washburn, ashland and iron counties.
 

RevGary

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As a former law enforcement officer (21 years), I can suggest to you that any such law is not enforced in Wisconsin on a county-wide basis - and those very few 'scanner unfriendly' communities are just worried about a criminal using a monitor in the commission of a crime to know if and when the PD will arrive. Don't worry about it. I have done numerous internet and law searches over the years since retiring in 1991 and have yet to find any databases which list the communities in question in Wisconsin. Take your scanner with you - and enjoy - just remember what the Federal law states. Do NOT divulge what you hear to anyone or use that information for monitary gain. A couple interesting law recaps can be found below...

http://library.findlaw.com/1996/Mar/7/130663.html

http://www.justice.gov/criminal/cybercrime/wiretap2510_2522.htm
 

wogggieee

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I wasn't really worried about it too much, but i saw a similar thread about a different state and got me thinking. Thanks for your info, it has been helpful.
 

SCPD

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Don't worry I got polled over in Wisconsin with a scanner in my car a couple of times. Twice by Mayville PD, once by Horicon PD, three times by Dodge county SO, and once by state patrol. All they asked was why I had one and was it secure so it would not fly around and cause injury in case of an accident.
 

wogggieee

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Thats good to know. WI cops dont like me much. I guess its because i have those MN plates. :)
 

KMA367

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RevGary said:
Thanks for those links, RevGary. Another page you may have seen is from the current United States Attorneys' Manual (which is basically a set of prosecution guidelines for Federal prosecutors) at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title9/crm01066.htm, which briefly discusses federal laws about radio interception, and says, in part, "The nature of radio communications is such that there is the potential for a multitude of petty 47 U.S.C. § 605 violations which do not warrant the initiation of federal prosecutions. Consequently, the proper use of federal law enforcement resources usually requires that investigation and prosecution of 47 U.S.C. § 605 violations be reserved for those cases in which there is a continuing, repeated, and flagrant violation of the law despite the application of lesser measures."

There are some well-publicized reports of states and cities who seem to have a real tough-on about scanners (Kentucky comes to mind), but by and large most agencies and individual officers aren't fanatical about it unless you're also doing something else illegal or stupid, or have a serious attitude problem.
 
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