More police departments are encrypting their scanners, raising freedom of information concerns

Denver7: This week, the Denver Fire Department dispatch communications begun encrypting its radio channels.

The department is following the move dozens of agencies across Colorado have already taken to restrict radio traffic as a safety and privacy precaution.

The Aurora Police Department has been encrypting its radio traffic for about three years. For Harry Glidden, a division chief for APD’s policy compliance and professional standards, the move is all about public safety.

“It’s just safer for us to have our radio system encrypted,” Glidden said.

Whereas before listeners had to own specific radio equipment to tune in to certain channels, these days most emergency dispatch communications are streamed online for anyone with access to the internet.

Glidden says that has put the power in the hands of suspects to listen in on police communications to try to predict their moves.

“There had been several instances prior to our encryption of the radio system where we had gone out and people were listening to us live on the radio,” he said.

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