DENVER – Lawmakers are debating secrecy when it comes to police radio scanners.
Some police, fire and sheriff’s departments are allowed to hide their radio communications by encrypting them.
It’s a way to keep the news media from learning about or hearing events that impact the community.
“The biggest concern with encryption, and encryption has slowly been making its way through communities, the law enforcement agencies have to make the decision themselves as to whether they want to spend the money to encrypt, once they do make that decision to block the public from any access to those channels”, said Colorado Broadcasters Association President Justin Sasso.
Broadcasters are fighting to keep the government agencies transparent.
Departments believe encryption is a matter of safety to protect officers.
News organizations argue leaving the communications channels open helps protect the public, too.
Under the bill being debated, departments would be able to scramble tactical channels like SWAT calls.