Police Radio Scanner Encrypted Soon
Police 911 Calls Encrypted, GPS Tracking Officers In System Upgrade
Local police radio traffic will soon be off limits to the public including members of the media thanks to a system upgrade for the Columbus Police Department.
The Computer Aided Dispatch system or “CAD” will be implemented next month and that means radio scanner traffic will be encrypted among other things.
Mayor Skip Henderson tells First News the system upgrade has nothing to do with transparency and public information and everything to do with Police Officer safety.
The encryption of 911 calls he says is important to protect active crime scene investigations.
Popular online crime forums like The Watch are critical of the move telling First News the public will be left out of the loop.
“The Watch” Administrator Eric Woodson said pages that rely on scanner posts for their content will be lacking but pages that rely on citizen input will continue to thrive.
“Well you know listen certainly the public deserves to know when there’s any kind of criminal activity in the community and they will find out but sometimes if they get there too quickly before the police officers get there it can make actual , the actual investigation and the handling of that crime scene a lot more difficult and even put officers or the public in more danger,” Mayor Henderson said.
The new police radios are also waterproof and most important he says headquarters can locate any officer with a GPS on every hand held device critical to police safety he said.
“The thing that excited me was the locator for the individual officers when they’re out of their vehicles. We actually had a situation I thing several months ago where an officer got out of his car chased a perpetrator , caught him and a fight ensued and it wasn’t going well for the officer and they couldn’t locate him,” Mayor Henderson said.
The new police radio system will go live July 9th. Police Chief Ricky Boren tells First News they will work out any glitches and eventually phase out the old system.