Denver to encrypt police radio traffic, blocking the public – but not news organizations – from listening

The Denver Post: Denver police radios crackled Wednesday afternoon with a variety of calls for service: a father calling on a combative son, teens smoking marijuana in an alley, a car crash.

Soon, however, the public will no longer be able to tune into the daily goings-on of Denver police as the department plans to encrypt all of its radio traffic in the coming months, though news organizations will have access if they sign agreements with the city.

Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said the switch could happen as early as mid-April, with the department joining dozens of other law enforcement agencies across the state that have opted to block access to their communications.

Pazen said the move will protect personal information such as addresses and phone numbers from being distributed to police-scanner listeners — and keep suspects from listening in. The decision represents the “best balance of community safety and transparency,” he said.

News organizations will have to sign a memorandum of understanding with the city before gaining access, and the city attorney’s office was working this week to finalize what that document will say, Pazen said.

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