New York Times reporter Corey Kilgannon tested a police scanner apps for a smart phones. (One, Police Scanner 2, has been downloaded nearly a million times for $4.99, its creator says). His conclusion: “it was easy to tap into an audio overview of the city's emergency activity, but much more difficult to follow in real time, because of traffic, distance, and the challenge of catching addresses and sifting through jargon.”
On police scanners, says Kilgannon, there is never a slow news day. It is a nonstop litany of fires, missing persons, gas leaks, car crashes, building collapses, shots fired, bridge jumpers, and purse snatchings. Only a small fraction of these end up in media news reports. He tried to check out the others.