The Pasadena, Calif., Police Department has been blocking local media from listening in on its new radio signal, which is now digitally encrypted, reports Daily Tech. On Jan. 7, the department switched from the traditional analog radio signal to a digitally encrypted signal, which doesn’t allow the media to listen in on transmissions. City staffers said they would consider loaning out a digital scanner to local media, but the police department has withheld them, citing officer safety concerns.
“People who do bank robberies use scanners, and Radio Shack sells these things cheap,” said Pasadena Police Lt. Phlunte Riddle. “The last thing I want to do is have the helicopter or the officers set up on the street and the criminals have a scanner and know where our officers are.” Journalists are angry at the department’s handling of the situation, and some say police are simply trying to conceal their day-to-day activities by holding back the digital scanners. “This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of,” said Steve Hunt, senior editor of the Pasadena Star-News. “I am continually amazed by the Pasadena Police Department’s disregard for the right of the public to be aware of what they are doing.”