The Anchorage Dispatch News reports that city officials there are cutting off the public’s ability to listen to Anchorage police and emergency-response radio traffic, saying the broadcasts pose a threat to officer safety and victim privacy. After a legal review and conversations between top police and city leaders, “we have determined the negative consequences of our current practice outweigh the benefits,” municipal manager Michael Abbott wrote in a letter to the local media.
That means the Anchorage Police Department will not reinstate the broadcast of its radio traffic on the internet service Broadcastify, which had been suspended in recent months. The Anchorage Fire Department will move to encrypt its over-the-air radio communications, Abbott wrote. Journalists say they have serious concerns about transparency and news-gathering if they can’t monitor police scanner traffic. For generations, reporters have used police radio communications to get the jump on breaking news. Scanners are also popular with many private citizens.