Editorial: Keep police radio communications open to media

Daily Camera (Boulder): Many Colorado communities are less informed about local law enforcement — the component of government that often warrants the most scrutiny — because a parade of police agencies in the last couple of years has encrypted radio communications.

Whereas newsrooms, along with members of the public, can monitor police traffic on traditional scanners, encrypted communication is not generally accessible. Encrypted radio traffic makes it difficult or impossible for reporters to learn of significant police activity in a timely manner, and it undermines their fundamental role as government watchdogs. If reporters are in the dark, so are members of the public, whom the police are supposed to serve.

A bill currently before the Colorado Legislature, House Bill 20-1282, would mandate that government agencies, such as police, enact encryption policies and allow access to radio communications by members of the media. The bill would reinstate an important form of government transparency, and it deserves lawmaker support.

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