D.C. Police To Encrypt Radio Communications | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

D.C. Police To Encrypt Radio Communications

Play associated audio

After decades of use, D.C.’s police scanners are about to go silent. Next month, the Metropolitan Police Department will start encrypting its radio communications.

With its constant crackle of police codes, the scanner has long provided the background music in many local newsrooms, as well as countless hours of chatter for hobbyists known as scanner junkies.

But that’s all set to change next month, when the department switches to encrypted communications.

Police Chief Cathy Lanier says the move was made in part because of how easy it has become -- with smart phones and other technology -- for people to listen in.

"There are so many mobile apps now that you can get where you can monitor police transmissions," she says. "We've recovered numerous mobile phones that people committing crimes have set so they can listen to police radio, even on search warrants and gun cases."

That, she says, has made police work even more dangerous.

As for scanner junkies and news reporters who rely on the information they get from the scanners to inform the community, Lanier insists they were not the prompt for the change.

"It's not something we're doing to keep the press out, it's something that we're doing to keep our community and our police officers safe," she says.

Lanier notes that MPD would share its encryption codes with surrounding police departments, as well as keep a few radio channels open -- just in case.

NPR

Influential Photographer Mary Ellen Mark Dies At 75

Mary Ellen Mark's work appeared in such publications as Life and Vanity Fair. Her photo essay on runaway children in Seattle became the basis of Streetwise, an Academy Award-nominated film.
NPR

How Dorothea Lange Taught Us To See Hunger And Humanity

Perhaps no one did more to show us the human toll of the Great Depression than Lange, who was born on this day in 1895. Her photos of farm workers and others have become iconic of the era.
NPR

How Will The Next President Protect Our Digital Lives?

For the first time in a White House race, the candidates will need a game plan for cyber policy for Day 1 in the Oval Office and will have some tough choices to make.
NPR

How Will The Next President Protect Our Digital Lives?

For the first time in a White House race, the candidates will need a game plan for cyber policy for Day 1 in the Oval Office and will have some tough choices to make.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.