With easy access from anywhere, across a whole range of mobile devices and fast searchable data feeds social media is an ideal outlet for catching up on police and other emergency services transmissions. Information from the scanner owner is sometimes supplemented by pictures from followers of the feeds adding a visual side to the incidents that we never get to see.

fire engine

Along with the online scanner audio feeds we can now access these social media sources giving us the chance to check out whats happening in parts of the world where we would have no hope of receiving the original transmissions.

Twitter Police Scanner Feeds

The New York scanner twitter feed is very active as you would imagine for a 24/7 city and with over 40,000 followers at the time of writing it proves the appeal this kind of information has with people. Not only covering police activity but a whole range of other EMS action there is always something good to read with some tweets having pictures of the incident included.

Facebook EMS Feeds

DFW Scanner is centered around Dallas and delivers information from a wide area. At the moment Facebook is more setup for displaying pictures than Twitter and if your a fan of the actual vehicles used by the emergency services there is some great eye candy dotted throughout this Facebook feed.

Interaction is at a higher level here than on any of the twitter police feeds we follow with some good conversations being had about individual incidents.

Localized Search

Finding something in your area is made easy by the fact the nearly all the feeds use a place name in the title of their feed/page. Using Google you can simply search for police scanner “your town/city” “social platform” to determine the closest to your home base.

Taking out the town/city bit will return a huge list of results for the social platform you specified and although they may take a while to work through, this method may well turn up some really active accounts to keep an eye on.

The Future

With more and more police departments in the U.S.A and Canada choosing to block reception of their transmissions by adopting encryption we are not sure how long these great sources of information will be with us. Some argue that public service transmissions should be open for all to listen but with security tightening across the world every year we can easily imagine many countries going down the same route as the UK where nearly every police transmission is encrypted.

This does have me a little worried sometimes about where the whole radio scanner hobby is going as more radios are built around the need for trunking radio systems. What happens when these systems are routinely encrypted and there’s no EMS transmissions left in the clear for us to receive.


Fire engine picture Courtesy of Wikipedia (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)

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