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APD to 'scramble' radio transmissions

The Albany Police Department is investing $250,000 in a radio encryption system that will render scanners such as these useless for picking up police communications.

The Albany Police Department is investing $250,000 in a radio encryption system that will render scanners such as these useless for picking up police communications.

ALBANY, Ga. -- Trying to follow Albany Police Department radio transmissions on a scanner available from retail electronics stores will become useless in the future.

The object is to keep officers safe while keeping the criminals in the dark about where the police are headed and when they'll get there, said police Chief John Proctor.

"My officers are on the road and engage with people every day," Proctor said. "It is about not allowing specific people to not listen to scanners, specifically criminals."

Proctor and every law enforcement official spoken to had a description of scanners interfering with the safe enforcement of the law. At times criminals have bragged about how lucky police were to catch them. Why lucky?

Lucky because on previous occasions the scanner told the criminals the police were on their way and the criminals ran away.

A video of a burglary at a car dealership a couple years ago showed the burglar with a scanner hanging from his waist as he stole from the dealership, Proctor said. The video aided in the burglar's capture.

Proctor plans to equip his officers with a $250,000 radio encryption system. The cost would be covered by special-prupose local-option sales tax funds.

In a few months when the encryption system is implemented, the Dougherty County Police Department and Sheriff's Office will not be left without communications, Proctor said. There is a system in place for communications between the three organizations' patrols, he added.

Sheriff Kevin Sproul and DCPD Chief Jackie Battles have heard about the coming change to radio communication for a couple years. They said after receiving estimates on changing their departments over, they would ask the Dougherty County Commission for SPLOST money to modify equipment.

Area law enforcement agencies often respond together to dangerous situations, such as armed robberies or other violent crimes.

Albany is following an encryption trend in Georgia, perhaps the entire country, said Frank Rotundo, executive director of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police.

"Many police departments in Georgia are going to encryption," Rotundo said. "It is about the safety of officers."

Albany City Commission recognized the need for the encryption and approved the funding from the one-penny sales tax fund.

"I voted for it. I am for anything that serves to help police safety and the fight against crime," said Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard. "I don't want criminals to hear what police are doing."

Comments

SMHgain 1 year, 11 months ago

I do not see the need for this "want".

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mr_nobody 1 year, 11 months ago

Ever listened to a police scanner? If you haven't, you won't see the need most likely.

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Nous_Defions 1 year, 11 months ago

It's the "Who" that was left out of this story that concerns me. Who is being given a contract to supply this technology? Was it a closed bid process?

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terihdfxr1 1 year, 11 months ago

SMHagain: You cant see the need or want for it becouse you must not work for the departments. The police departments have a huge problem with the criminals and scanners. If it will keep our officers safe and give them the upper hand than I say give them the money they need. Id rather see it spent there than on something that dosnt concern public safety. This is by no means a want its a need.

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agirl_25 1 year, 11 months ago

I used to enjoy listening to my scanner in the late 90's and early 2000+ to hear cell phone calls and police calls, but when calls went digital and were encrypted the entertainment was gone. Since I am not a criminal there is no need for me to listen to sheriff/police calls to elude the law but some of the rural ones are hilarious.....real Maybery RFD stuff. Now tho, the new fun is viewing Skype calls via the big dish. There are some hilarious things that people do on Skype calls.....they crack me up sometimes. Some truly do belong on YouTube, but alas it is against the law to tape them.

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waltspecht 1 year, 11 months ago

I just hope they are monitoring their 911 dispatchers closer than recent history would indictate. I also hope they are smart enough to ban cell phones from the building. So someone can't make a Bathroom call into a phone call. One of those Cell phone disabling devices might be appropriate. I also believe the Police should be banned from having them in the vehicle. Not just for fear of information distribution, but because I see them driving and talking on cell phones all the time. I seriously doubt those are all business calls. Industry has finally caught onto how much time is wasted by employees on cells, and is outlawing them in many work enviornments.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 11 months ago

Okay, we are going to spend a quarter of a million for radio scramblers. Any chance we can consolidate radio and telephone communications among the lea patrols and save some cabbage here for the local tax payers. Was a competitive bid (RFP) extended for several suppliers. What kind of training will be offered to see the equipment is installed, maintained and utilized properly. We had some mighty expensive cameras hung on street corners not long ago no one could figure out. Madame Mayor and Chief Proctor, the citizens also want to know your plan to put officers on the street to aggressively enforce the laws and patrol the community. Here's your opportunity to run with the ball. Take off. Don't just throw money at it.

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