Washington County Newb

Status
Not open for further replies.

stohalen

Newbie
Joined
Feb 26, 2017
Messages
2
Hello all, My wife just bought me a BCD436HP, Uniden. I had hopes of being able to monitor HPD, MSP, Washco Sherrif, etc. I'm extremely stupid so far in understanding how these work. However, I was able to find freqs by zipcode and I just put in in Discovery Mode/ Trunking and have picked up County EMS/ Fire. While discovering, it shows Washco sherrif on the screen but I'm not hearing anything. I guess my question is, is this the right unit for monitoring law enforcement in Washco, or should I send it back? Or, is there alot more manual input involved to hear the P25 law enforcement agencies?

Thanks. I tried to look this up first, but the lingo is a little tricky for me.
 

stohalen

Newbie
Joined
Feb 26, 2017
Messages
2
I sincerely appreciate that answer. Honestly didn't know if there was a way around that or not. You have answered my question! Thanks again.
 

maus92

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 23, 2004
Messages
3,188
Location
Annapolis
Hello all, My wife just bought me a BCD436HP, Uniden. I had hopes of being able to monitor HPD, MSP, Washco Sherrif, etc. I'm extremely stupid so far in understanding how these work. However, I was able to find freqs by zipcode and I just put in in Discovery Mode/ Trunking and have picked up County EMS/ Fire. While discovering, it shows Washco sherrif on the screen but I'm not hearing anything. I guess my question is, is this the right unit for monitoring law enforcement in Washco, or should I send it back? Or, is there alot more manual input involved to hear the P25 law enforcement agencies?

Thanks. I tried to look this up first, but the lingo is a little tricky for me.
Adding a bit of info, if a TG or frequency is encrypted - which the Washington County TRS is for the Sheriff's department , Hagerstown Police, and the MSP, you will not hear any intelligible audio even though it seems to hold on a channel - btw, no scanner can decode encrypted channels. In the near future, MSP will be moving to the statewide radio system which will require a scanner like the 436, so you will should be good to go at that point. So far, MSP has (wisely) chosen not to encrypt its routine barracks comms in other parts of the state, so hopefully you will be able to hear them when they migrate to FiRST system (which should this year.) Why the county sheriff and Hagerstown Police feel they need to encrypt all their comms (excepting auxiliary police) is a mystery, but not uncommon in more rural departments for some reason. Not good public policy in my view.
 
Last edited:

troymail

Silent Key
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
9,977
Location
Supply (Lockwood Inlet area), NC
I was pretty certain (and have confirmed by looking at the RRDB listings) that Washington County Law enforcement was encrypted. I was actually a little surprised to see that MSP is listed as being encrypted on the Washington County system but maybe I shouldn't be.

When St. Mary's switched to P25 several years ago, I believe all of their law enforcement including MSP went encrypted at that time as well.

Law enforcement to include MSP on the Frederick County system is still in the clear (for now) although recent discussions have indicated that Frederick City is encrypted.

Somerset County law uses Provoice. When FiRST went live down there, they had clear (nearly?) full time patches onto FiRST but have since encrypted those patches.

Surprisingly, Queen Anne, Talbot, and Caroline law for the most part stayed in the clear when the switched to FiRST recently. They like others wisely kept routine dispatches in the clear but have encrypted some tac talkgroups. Some operational data as well as personal information (like SSNs, etc.) needs to be protected. [side note: I recently heard a Maryland business using NXDN actually read out the entire set of a user's credit card information over their clear talkgroup - to include name, card number, expiration, zip code, security code on the back, etc. -- I was horrified but glad it wasn't my info!]

We'll know more when Wicomico and Worcester go P25 if they'll encrypt....I'm thinking it's a better than 50/50 possibility.

DC law is all encrypted.

Once a department or service goes encrypted, I really would not expect them to revert back.
 
Last edited:

maus92

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 23, 2004
Messages
3,188
Location
Annapolis
The cities of Frederick and Hagerstown were encrypted on their old UHF systems, so those entities have a history of closed government. An argument can be made to encrypt sensitive information for opsec and privacy reasons, but day-to-day governmental processes should be be made as transparent as possible. I'm happy to see that the former UMESC counties chose to remain in the clear for routine comms and embrace open government. Those jurisdictions should be commended. Let's hope the lower shore counties will be equally transparent.

It seems that MSP "follows the lead" when operating on a county system, in that if the host's law enforcement's functions are in the clear, they (the MSP,) will operate in the clear - and vice versa. Note that the Frederick Police Department apparently operates encrypted TGs on the Frederick County system, while the Frederick County Sheriff Department operates in the clear, as does MSP.

DC made the decision to move to encryption for both its police and fire departments; they recently rolled back encryption for routine fire operations after being publicly ridiculed for what appeared to be an attempt to cloak comms for internal reasons. The justification behind the police going universally dark was because criminals were allegedly using scanner apps to escape arrest - a bit of an over-reaction, but whatever.
 
Last edited:

Septa3371CSX1

Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
1,038
Location
Drexel Hill, PA
The cities of Frederick and Hagerstown were encrypted on their old UHF systems, so those entities have a history of closed government. An argument can be made to encrypt sensitive information for opsec and privacy reasons, but day-to-day governmental processes should be be made as transparent as possible. I'm happy to see that the former UMESC counties chose to remain in the clear for routine comms and embrace open government. Those jurisdictions should be commended. Let's hope the lower shore counties will be equally transparent.

It seems that MSP "follows the lead" when operating on a county system, in that if the host's law enforcement's functions are in the clear, they (the MSP,) will operate in the clear - and vice versa. Note that the Frederick Police Department apparently operates encrypted TGs on the Frederick County system, while the Frederick County Sheriff Department operates in the clear, as does MSP.

DC made the decision to move to encryption for both its police and fire departments; they recently rolled back encryption for routine fire operations after being publicly ridiculed for what appeared to be an attempt to cloak comms for internal reasons. The justification behind the police going universally dark was because criminals were allegedly using scanner apps to escape arrest - a bit of an over-reaction, but whatever.
In regards to MSP using encryption on some county systems, it has more to do with the law enforcement talkgroups being strapped encrypted. MSP is merely a user on these systems and doesn't have much of a say in terms of encryption. These systems are often setup with all talkgroups designated for law enforcement use as strapped encrypted.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top