But a year after House Bill 21-1250 was signed into law, reporters still can’t tune into Denver and Aurora police radio transmissions like they did before both agencies blocked public access — Denver in 2019 and Aurora three years earlier. Although each department has a written policy on radio access, neither has reached an agreement with any Denver metro news organizations.
Denver Police Department
One change will impact the release of body-worn and dashboard camera footage, and another might help mitigate the loss of public information caused by the encryption of police radio transmissions. Two additional provisions address public access to records of completed police internal affairs investigations and lists of officers who have credibility issues.
State representatives inserted a provision addressing police radio encryption into a law-enforcement accountability measure that builds on the major police reform bill passed in 2020.
Journalists know they may find themselves in harm’s way when they cover volatile events such as the demonstrations we have seen in Denver over the past several days. But it is inexcusable – and a violation of the journalists’ constitutional rights – for law enforcement officers to single them out for attack simply for doing their jobs in chronicling these events.
The death of a House bill likely means the continuation of a trend among Colorado law enforcement agencies to encrypt all of their radio traffic.