Times-Call (Longmont): As the cost of encrypting radio communications shrinks, the question of its practice by local police departments has come under increasing scrutiny and prompted questions about who should have the ultimate authority to make the decision.
On May 14, the Longmont Public Safety Department presented the results of a six-month long pilot program to city council showing that encrypting the department’s radio transmissions allowed officers to more efficiently catch criminals who were previously evading capture by monitoring radio transmissions while committing crimes; to better protect the identity of victims, family members and witnesses; and to increase officers’ sense of safety. .
The presentation, however, was more of an explanation of why the department was choosing to encrypt its radio communications, rather than a pitch for approval.
During the meeting, Councilman Tim Waters noted that even though he supports encrypting police radio traffic, it seemed to him like a “policy decision” that should be made by council, as opposed to “an operational decision” city staff can adopt without consulting, or getting a vote of approval from, council.
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