Being big users on the excellent online feeds that stream police and EMS radio signals from across the world its hard not to notice the rate some from the US are being cut off. Deciding that having fully secure communications is a better way to go police departments are investing huge amounts of money in new encrypted radio systems.
A quick check around the radio forums has shown that Little Rock are the latest to make the switch and by now should be back up and running, but with signals that are useless to the casual scanner listener.
One of the big casualties of this switch is the Facebook page reporting on Little Rock’s police activities. After building a huge following its source of content has now dried up making this scenario a worry for all the other scanner feeds that use social media.
The decision of encryption has been debated (and then some) for a number of years now mainly from the point of public record but ultimately any objection doesn’t seem to be slowing the rate of changeover. Maybe in an effort to silence the public record issue some areas are allowing newsrooms access to the encrypted transmissions by lending or renting them pieces of the new equipment.
Regardless of how non criminal users of scanners feel it does look like the writings on the wall for the continued access to police signals and a few long term effects have to be considered.
Knock On Effect – Other Services
One argument that’s been used against going totally encrypted is the fact its much easier for all EMS personnel dealing with a problem to communicate flawlessly when transmissions are sent in the open. If cooperation between all EMS services is important in a majority of situations how long before all these types of signals move over to the encrypted systems.
Knock On Effect – Scanner Development
A huge amount of new scanners are sold on the merits of being able to listen to trunking radio signals. If you take away what is the most interesting side of trunking (police, fire etc) how much effect will this have on the research and production of new scanners in the future?
You can bet the big manufactures are looking at the way things are going in the US closely while working out the viability of continuing to produce radio scanners. A huge cut back on scanner production will filter down from the firms who make them through to the retailers, third party accessories manufactures and all the scanner support services (including software).
Have you already been directly effected by a move over to encryption in your area or do you see it coming your way soon, or do you have any thoughts on the wider implications this has for the use of radio scanners as a whole?.
Please leave your comments below.