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Against Police Radio Encryption




Welcome to our website.  We created this website to bring public awareness as to why the police radio encryption is not a good thing for the police and also the public.  Please take a few minutes and read below.

About Us:  We created this website when our own local police department went encrypted. We began to research the topic via several resources and found out just how bad it is for the police to encrypt their radios, for the police AND the public safety.

Notes:

  • Not one documents case of scanner traffic jeopardizing an officers safety
  • Police use the excuse “Officer safety”  to gain the public support. But as stated above, there is not 1 documented case to scanner traffic has put an officers life at stake
  • Encrypting the police radios has already proven that it puts the officers lives more at stake, then when it was encrypted. because of the problems of the system and also other departments are not able to communicate.
  • Some departments that went encrypted have learned the hard way, and have decided to un-encrypt their airwaves once again.
  • Police are LESS transparent when they are encrypted
  • Police say they will use other methods of providing information to the public via blotters, social media, etc…   But once they encrypted, those promises have been false promises. Many departments failed to provide information via those methods and left the public hanging in the dark.
  • Once encrypted, it has been proven that police use the airwaves in an unprofessional manner and abuse the FCC regulations and say inappropriate things.

Stay tuned, Still in Development




Rockford Illinois Police Encryption

Rockford Illinois Police Encryption

From Rockford Scanner at http://RockfordScanner.com


Rockford Scanner is strongly against the police radio encryption.  Below you will understand why.

Petition against local police radio encryption. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/rockfordscanner

Thousands signed it, Many have voiced their opinions. And yet it fell on deaf ears with the police chief and sheriff, and the police still encrypted.  Police say they want to hear what the public has to say and they will work with the public. But this petition alone, has proven the local police has once again lied to the public and does not care what the public has to say.

Police encryption should be put on a voting ballot and the public should have the right to vote on this, since it IS the tax payers money that is used to buy and maintain the equipment and the police are a public safety department.


We will use one example of many, on how police radio un-encryption helped police officers capture a suspect.

May 2014, Savannah Johnson was fatally shot by her boyfriend Jamie Key at 1014 15th Street. The suspect information came across the un-encrypted airwaves of the description of Jamie Key and the vehicle he was driving. Rockford Scanner posted the description. A citizen saw that description and called police and said the vehicle was located at 8th street and 21st ave, at the apartment complex. They had a 6 hour standoff  before he surrendered.  

Officers still to this day THANK Rockford Scanner (Privately since the chief said he would fire any officer caught talking to Rockford Scanner) for posting that information.

They said that if it wasn’t for us posting the information, they would have had to had track his cell phone usage.

And that would take up to a year, That would have been up to a year he would have been roaming the streets. An alleged murderer roaming the streets of Rockford, doing who knows what……  

But thanks to the description across un-encrypted airwaves and Rockford Scanner posting the information, and an alert citizen. They were able to capture the alleged murder suspect. 

This is just one of numerous occasions the public has helped police capture suspects, via un-encrypted airwaves.


  • Rockford Scanner is FOR officer safety and also the safety of the citizens, and it has been proven the radio encryption has actually put officers and citizens lives in more jeopardy, than when it was un-encrypted.  (Read below)
    Officer against encryption
    Officer against encryption, Also stating no officer safety issues with un-encryption

     

  • Police have said they are transparent. You are not TRANSPARENT when you are hiding your communications from the public.
  • It has been proven police departments do NOT provide information to the public on major events, as they promised the public they would when they went encrypted
  • It has been proven police departments have not documented or have altered stats after they went encrypted
  • It has been proven police departments encrypt, to make it appear “Crime is going down”
  • It has been proven that criminals actually use encryption to their advantage, because the public does not know what is going on and can not be on the look out for the suspects until many hours later, after the police release the information and the suspect is long gone
  • It has been proven that crime stats have actually risen, since police encrypt their radios.
  • Rockford police already used encryption and other methods, before going fully encrypted. They had control 1 and 2 open for normal use. And other control channels encrypted such as control 5 for their “sensitive information”  and they also use cell phones, MDT’s, etc..
  • Many of the officers said “If we don’t want you to hear it, we would just use our cell phones or MDT’s”
  • Many officers are against the encryption. They understand the negative consequences of it. But it is the administration who enforced it.
  • It has been proven (even here locally)  that MANY citizens have refused to cooperate with police, since they went encrypted. They turn a blind eye and refuse to talk to the police. Basically saying you are not transparent anymore, neither are we.

We can go on and on on why encryption is bad not only for the officers using it, but for the citizens as well.  A quick google search you can find a wealth of information.

Rockford Scanner is strongly against police radio encryption!
For the OFFICERS SAFETY AND CITIZENS SAFETY.  

http://www.ktuu.com/content/news/Police–Fire-Dept-radios-to-be-encrypted-no-internet-audio-feeds-389361412.html

Great Interview with Joe Mattern with C.A.R.E. against police radio encryption

Watch on Youtube at https://youtu.be/GJcHy6zXdlQ

Notes:

  • All of our Freedom Of Information Requests have been denied from the Rockford Police Department, since they went encrypted

 


Some more useful info on why it is bad to encrypt http://rockfordscanner.com/2016/11/emergency-agencies-begin-turning-off-radio-encryption-in-bid-to-improve-transparency/


Des Moines Iowa police dispatcher asking citizens with scanners to assist police on November 2nd 2016


Public access to police radio communications helps public safety. Information on animal or wildlife calls can keep the public clear of danger areas. Information on fast/slow speed chases can keep the public clear of danger areas.

Information on motor vehicle accidents can keep the public clear of adding additional traffic burdens. Access to traffic violation information can also alert the public to potential traffic slow down safety issues ahead or in the area. When the public hears sirens in their neighborhoods access to police radio communications can alert the public to emergency information which may impact their or their family’s safety.

When the public has information relative to criminal activity they can stay clear of the area for their own safety. When the public has access to information on BOLO (be on the look out) they too can assist by passing along information helpful to law enforcement.

“If the police need to share sensitive information among themselves, they know how to do it, cellphones, and mobile data terminals have been around a long time.





Great Interview with Joe Mattern with C.A.R.E. against police radio encryption

1. What is your name and your organization called?

My name is Joseph Erik Mattern. I live in Orlando, Florida. My group is known as C.A.R.E.: Citizens Against Radio Encryption (Non-Tactical Radio Encryption). The group was previously known as C.A.N.T.R.E.E. Citizens Against Non-Tactical Radio Encryption Evolution. I chose to shorten the name to show how much we CARE about this issue.

2. What does your organization stand for?

C.A.R.E. stands for and represents ‘education of public safety communications technology and public safety communications transparency’.

3. Why did you start your organization?

I started the group in 2010 with Gary Taylor of the Orlando Sentinel who was concerned that Central Florida Law Enforcement Agencies chose to ‘quietly’ migrate to full-time, boot strap encryption (encryption of every channel) without notifying the public or the news media alike. Gary and I felt that the citizens whose taxpayer dollars paid for radio systems had a right to know of radio encryption migration, before it actually happened. Additionally, we felt as if the move to full-time encryption (every radio channel) was not a balanced nor transparent decision made by law enforcement agencies within the Central Florida area.

4. Can you please describe the difference between encrypted and not encrypted radio communications?

Encrypted Communications are not monitorable (technologically speaking) via radio scanner and are illegal to monitor per FCC Law. Unencrypted public safety radio communications are fully monitorable with newer technology radio scanner’s.

5. Can you please describe what it means when they go encrypted, and how nobody is able to hear them even with the high-end scanners?

When a law enforcement agency opts to migrate to full-time radio encryption of every channel they utilize, it prevents citizens, first responders and the news media from listening to routine dispatch communications, which can alert those who monitor that potential harm is approaching. An example of this would be an armed burglary and or a rapid moving severe weather event such as a hurricane or tornado. High end scanners, such as the UNIDEN BCD536HP digital radio scanner have the capability of monitoring PHASE II (new technology) digital modulation radio transmissions. Each day more and more Law Enforcement Agencies choose to migrate to Motorola PHASE II Technology, this while implementing full-time radio encryption.

6. When the police say it’s for officer safety, please describe what they mean and if it is true or not true?

Law Enforcement Agencies use the tagline ‘Officer Safety’ when migrating to full-time radio encryption, when what they really mean is ‘We Despise The News Media’. If Officer Safety as well as Community Safety were ‘balanced’, Law Enforcement Agencies would choose not to utilize radio encryption on Routine Dispatch Channels, also known as talkgroups.

7. Can you please describe an example of when police went encrypted, and then shut the public out from information?

On June 12, 2016, here in Orlando, Florida, the worst case of domestic terrorism to date, since 9-11, took place at the PULSE night club. That day, 49 LGBTQ individuals were assassinated by Omar Mateen, a 29 year old security guard and gunman who had a deep unsettled hatred towards the LBGTQ Community. Both the Orlando Police Department and Orange County Sheriff’s Office utilize full-time radio encryption on their radio systems. Citizens, First Responders and the News Media only had the option to monitor the Orlando Fire Department via what is known as back door monitoring. Back door monitoring is defined as the monitoring of an agency which assists another agency, such as Fire Departments assisting Law Enforcement Agencies.

8. Is it good or bad for the police to go encrypted, and why?

It’s a BAD thing, if public safety radio encryption is not used in a balanced way. Our group however DOES support the use of radio encryption for tactical operations, such as S.W.A.T. team operations.

9. How can the public stop the police from going encrypted?

We don’t believe that you CAN stop them. However, our group encourages the general public to utilize their right in speaking for 3 minutes at City/County Council Meetings to let their voice and concerns be heard about this issue.

10. Are there any examples as to a police department going encrypted and then reversed it?

I am not aware of any. However, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office located in Sanford, Florida was encouraged by both local public safety agencies as well as MOTOROLA to utilize full-time radio encryption, upon upgrading from analog to their new digital public safety radio system. After listening to our groups concerns, the Sheriff of the County chose not to encrypt any of the talkgroups on his new digital radio system, as a demonstration of transparency. To this day, 2 years later, every local police department within Seminole County, Florida including the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, does not utilize radio encryption in their public safety radio communications.

11. Are there any alternatives the police department can use besides going encrypted?

Yes, Mobile Data Terminals known as MDT’s and NEXTEL Direct Connect, neither of which are monitorable.

12. When the police department goes encrypted the public thinks that they are hiding things from the public, is that true?

Yes, the utilization of full-time radio encryption without notifying the public or the news media of this transition demonstrates a disrespect to those who monitor by radio scanner. I often use this story-based example: “Why did the law enforcement agency chose to implement full-time radio encryption on their Public Safety Radio System…Because they COULD”.

Case in point:

http://urgentcomm.com/p25/panel-p25-encryption-not-everyone

http://www.wftv.com/news/local/no-charges-opd-officer-accused-hitting-homeless-ma/271004352

Regarding the second link: WFTV our local ABC TV Affiliate, had difficulty in obtaining the encrypted law enforcement dictaphone recorded radio communications, to a point where they had to hire an attorney to get ‘the tapes’ of the radio traffic. When the dispatcher called Officer Fiorentino-Tyburski on the radio to verify if he had stopped and left the scene in question, he responded with the words: “Who’s Asking?”.

13. Is there one documented case of an officer safety being jeopardized, because of police scanner traffic?

In my 16 years of research, I cannot find or have been provided one documented incident report documenting an officer safety issue connected to radio scanning.

Additionally, I have challenged Law Enforcement Agencies to listen to an App (mobile application) of their agency and share ‘in real time’ where a specific police officer was geographically located in that exact moment. Due to the number of talk groups (channels) being broadcasted on an app and given the frequent movement of law enforcement officers within a community, it is next to impossible to determine where a law enforcement is or ‘will be’ located, to utilize this information to potentially jeopardize the safety of a law enforcement officer. I like to use this tagline to illustrate my point: “Criminals carry GUNS not radio scanners!”. Besides a criminal is not smart enough to program nor understand the complexities of most modern day radio scanners.

14. If you had one thing to say to our local police department, what would you tell them?

You SAY your Agency is TRANSPARENT!? Your WORDS need to match your ACTIONS.

If you truly cared about your local citizens who wish to protect themselves by monitoring your law enforcement communications via radio scanner NOTE: taxpayer dollars paid for your public safety radio system, you could choose to offer them a monitoring platform such as RANGECAST (www.rangecast.com).

15. If you had one thing to say to the citizens of the Rockford Illinois area, what would you say?

I would encourage each of them to utilize their 3 minutes (collectively, one evening at a City Council Meeting) to share that what your Police Department is doing (by choosing to implement full-time radio encryption, prior to Council or taxpayer approval) is not fair and balanced, nor does it reflect transparency. I would encourage each of them to realize they are losing yet another one of ‘their rights’. Additionally, I would encourage them to develop a plan of action. This plan would involve meeting with a representative of the Police Department to make them aware of RANGECAST Technology and recommend its immediate implementation. By doing this, the police department could supervise their communications being re-transmitted over a platform which can delay communications (example: a 5 minute delay from real-time public safety communications to address any possible officer safety issue) and to offer a RangeCast player panel on their website in support of Community Based Policing.


This is a very good article. I’ve quoted some key notes from the article, more info in the original link below.
“Agencies with digital radio systems have turned off the encryption to their main dispatching channels and others have decided not to turn it on. They say their officers and firefighters may not be heard during emergencies by responders at neighboring departments with radio systems that either don’t have access to their encrypted channels or aren’t advanced enough to have encryption capability.
Officials also say they are addressing concerns from critics who argue encryption decreases police transparency at a time when it is needed, especially in the wake of shootings of unarmed black people by police officers.”
“Police in Naugatuck, Connecticut, like many departments, are keeping their main dispatch channel open to the public while maintaining encrypted channels to use during tactical operations.
Naugatuck Police Chief Christopher Edson cited the need to be able to communicate with other emergency responders, as well as the expense of encryption, >>>which can cost several hundred dollars per radio to implement<<<.   Another issue was not wanting to block out the public, he said.
“We also want to be transparent,” he said, “during this particular climate in the country.”
Admin Will

Full details at http://www.norwichbulletin.com/news/20161011/now-hear-this-emergency-agencies-turn-off-radio-encryption


 

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Some police and fire departments are bucking a trend to conceal dispatch communications from the public, acknowledging that radio encryption has the potential to backfire and put first responders in danger.

Agencies with digital radio systems have turned off the encryption to their main dispatching channels and others have decided not to turn it on. They say their officers and firefighters may not be heard during emergencies by responders at neighboring departments with radio systems that either don’t have access to their encrypted channels or aren’t advanced enough to have encryption capability.

Officials also say they are addressing concerns from critics who argue encryption decreases police transparency at a time when it is needed, especially in the wake of shootings of unarmed black people by police officers.

“The overwhelming opinion of encryption is that it works great for preplanned tactical environments like SWAT teams staging a situation,” said Eddie Reyes, deputy chief of Amtrak police and chairman of the International Association of Chiefs of Police communications and technology committee.

“But for day-to-day operations where officers are going across borders in emergency pursuits or foot pursuits, that’s where it tends to break down,” he said. “A good number of agencies are still operating on antiquated systems and would not have the ability to accept encryption.”

When Reyes was working for Arlington, Virginia, police in 2006, he said, an officer who fatally shot a teenager outside a restaurant inadvertently switched over to encryption mode on his portable radio. There was temporary chaos on the radio when officers en route couldn’t communicate with the officer in the shooting because their radios weren’t in encryption mode, Reyes said.

A slow trend continues toward encryption, which has been around for years. It hides communications from public airwaves by modifying voice signals with coded algorithms, preventing people from listening via radio scanners, the internet and cellphone apps. Only people with encryption “keys,” the information needed to access the encrypted channels, can listen.

Open government advocates say the practice withholds crucial information about emergency situations from the public. Concerns also have been raised by news organizations, which say it cuts off journalists who monitor public safety broadcasts from being alerted to major events.

Police officials say they’re worried about the safety of their officers, because criminals have been known to track officers’ movements by listening to police communications. They also say they want to prevent the public broadcasting of people’s personal information, including medical histories and juveniles’ names.

They further cite violence against officers around the country over the past few months and the response to the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, when people listening to police communications posted misleading and inaccurate information on social media.

Among police departments that have recently encrypted all communications are those in Anchorage, Alaska; Riverside, California; Manchester, New Hampshire; and Newtown, Connecticut.

“What happened this summer really culminated in making the decision,” Newtown Police Chief James Viadero said, referring to violence against police. “I had a legitimate concern for my officers.”

Other departments are taking the opposite approach. Police in New Orleans; Spokane, Washington; and other cities have vowed not to encrypt their main dispatch channels. Others that had encrypted their communications have turned it off.

Police in Mansfield, Massachusetts, turned off their encryption more than a year ago after officers expressed concern they couldn’t talk with counterparts in some neighboring towns, Police Chief Ronald Sellon said. Mansfield is home to the 20,000-seat Xfinity Center outdoor amphitheather, and there were worries about communications with other agencies if there was a mass casualty event at the theater.

Last year, Washington, D.C., officials switched off the encryption for fire communications. The move came after firefighters had problems using their radios in a subway tunnel during an emergency response. The tunnel filled with smoke because of an electrical malfunction, killing one person and sickening dozens more.

The Metro transit agency, which had a radio system in the subway that allowed below-ground communications by city firefighters, said the radio problems were the result of the fire department changing its own radio system, including adding encryption, without telling the transit agency. City officials denied encryption caused the problems.

Police in Naugatuck, Connecticut, like many departments, are keeping their main dispatch channel open to the public while maintaining encrypted channels to use during tactical operations.

Naugatuck Police Chief Christopher Edson cited the need to be able to communicate with other emergency responders, as well as the expense of encryption, which can cost several hundred dollars per radio to implement. Another issue was not wanting to block out the public, he said.

“We also want to be transparent,” he said, “during this particular climate in the country.”


Notes:

  • What is sad is the Rockford police chief and Winnebago County Sheriff are encrypting, KNOWING the negative effects of encryption. And yet they still encrypt.Putting not only the lives of their own officers but the public at risk, by encrypting.
  • It has been proven that encryption not only has negative effects on police safety and citizen safety, but also on public relations.
  • The ONLY people that are for encryption, are police officers.
  • There is a saying ” Why hide things, if you have nothing to hide” 
  • Public’s trust in the local police have hit an all time low, since police encrypted their radios.  Many citizens have lost trust in the police and many have said they refuse to call or even help the police now.
  • How does encryption make officers more safe, when the publics distrust for the police is at an all time low?  How does this make things safer? 
  • When you have criminals using encryption to their advantage and getting away from scenes,  because the public can’t hear their description.
  • We will use one example of many, on how police radio un-encryption helped police officers capture a suspect.

May 2014, Savannah Johnson was fatally shot and stabbed by her boyfriend Jamie Key at 1014 15th Street. The suspect information came across the un-encrypted airwaves of the description of Jamie Key and the vehicle he was driving.

Rockford Scanner posted the description. A citizen saw that description and called police and said the vehicle was located at 8th street and 21st ave, at the apartment complex. They had a 6 hour standoff, before he surrendered.

Officers still to this day THANK Rockford Scanner (Privately since the chief said he would fire any officer caught talking to Rockford Scanner) for posting that information.

They said that if it wasn’t for us posting the information, they would have had to had track his cell phone usage.

And that would take up to a year, That would have been up to a year he would have been roaming the streets. An alleged murderer roaming the streets of Rockford, doing who knows what……

But thanks to the description across
un-encrypted airwaves and Rockford Scanner posting the information, and an alert citizen. They were able to capture the alleged murder suspect.
 

This is just one of numerous occassions the public has helped police capture suspects, via un-encrypted airwaves.

http://www.wrex.com/story/25422195/2014/05/Saturday/murder-leads-rockford-police-to-stand-off-with-suspect


Below are just a few of MANY people saying they are against the encryption and refuse to help police, because of the encryption


The money that they used to buy the equipment with could have been used to hire almost 120 police officers!

Or could have been used to fix the roads and infrastructure.

Or used to fund other programs that combat crime.

Or buy police equipment such as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jnwlzpkP1s

Many other ways the money could have been spent to keep officers safe, citizens safe, and improve public relations.  But instead they used the money to encrypt and hide things from the public and hurt public relations and officer and citizen safety….

The steps it takes for Rockford to communicate with other PD’s (RPD officer calls RPD dispatch on a radio, RPD dispatch calls other dispatch on phone, other dispatch calls other officer on radio, other officer response to other dispatch, so on …. aka if a RPD officer is down or hurt and a non RPD officer responds, it will take alot longer even if hes 100 feet away at night that process could take up to approx. 5 min via all the relays.