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Nov 27, 2011

Police Around U.S. Encrypting Radio Communications to Prevent Public Monitoring

Baby steps are getting bigger now.

via Public Intelligence

Police departments around the country are moving to shield their radio communications from the public as cheap, user-friendly technology has made it easy for anyone to use handheld devices to keep tabs on officers responding to crimes.

The Orange County, Fla., sheriff’s office expects to be encrypted within months. Several police departments in the county are already encrypted, and more will follow suit to keep officers safe, said Bryan Rintoul, director of emergency communications for the sheriff’s office.

In California, the Santa Monica police department has been fully encrypted for the past two years, enabling police to communicate more freely during high-risk calls, said spokesman Sgt. Richard Lewis.

Smaller communities like Garden City, Kan. — with a population of roughly 27,000 — are also converting.
“It was an unknown. There was no criminal act, but it concerns the officers when you see the same vehicle keep showing up at your scenes,” said spokesman Sgt. Michael Reagle. “What is their intent when they keep showing up?”

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