Print 49 comment(s) - last by Schrag4.. on Feb 9 at 4:18 PM

The media says the police department is just trying to conceal its activities

The Pasadena Police Department has been blocking local media from listening in on its new radio signal, which is now digitally encrypted.

On January 7, the Pasadena Police Department switched from the traditional analog radio signal to a digitally encrypted signal, which doesn't allow the media to listen to the latest going-ons in the city. City staff said they'd consider loaning out a digital scanner to local media, but the police department has been making it difficult to obtain.

According to the police department, the digital scanners are being withheld because of officer safety.

"People who do bank robberies use scanners, and Radio Shack sells these things cheap," said Pasadena Police Lt. Phlunte Riddle. "We just had a robbery today on Hill Avenue and Washington Boulevard. 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."

Local media has been outraged at the Pasadena Police Department's handling of the situation, since many local outlets depend on that scanner to cover news. Some media outlets are claiming that police officers 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," Steve Hunt, senior editor of 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."

The Pasadena Police Department said it's not trying to conceal anything, but would prefer the media to use Public Records Requests to obtain information instead. However, these requests can be time-consuming or even denied.

"It is not our intention to reduce the level of transparency of the Pasadena Police Department's operations," said Phillip Sanchez, Pasadena police chief. "There has been absolutely no restriction made on the public or the media from filing Public Records Requests. We are required to provide copies of requested transmissions in a timely fashion, but we ask the public to understand that there are no laws that require public safety to make transmissions available in real time. Transparency is a primary mission of the City of Pasadena."

The need to keep police activity in check has become increasingly important. For instance, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) investigated Raleigh, North Carolina police to see if license plate scanning violated privacy rights. Also, there were issues last year with police arresting citizens for taping them while on duty, potentially using footage of unprofessional activity against them.

More recently, the Supreme Court ruled that police cannot invade property or track citizens without a warrant.

Source: Pasadena Star-News

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By kattanna on 2/8/2012 12:44:02 PM , Rating: 5
The Pasadena Police Department said it's not trying to conceal anything,

while that statement is a complete lie as the very reason to switch over to digital encryption is to conceal officer whereabouts from criminals, I for one, simply dont care and am actually in support of this. My only reaction really is why has it taken so long??

all to often you have news vans getting to crime scenes before the police can properly secure the area.

i hope this spreads to other areas.

RE: good!
By tomx78 on 2/8/12, Rating: 0
RE: good!
By MrBlastman on 2/8/2012 1:28:31 PM , Rating: 1
If more people packed heat we wouldn't need nearly as many police as we have now...

RE: good!
By name99 on 2/8/12, Rating: 0
RE: good!
By steven975 on 2/8/2012 2:05:14 PM , Rating: 2
slipping down the slippery slope there...

RE: good!
By tayb on 2/8/2012 2:34:34 PM , Rating: 2
Yes because whenever I pull the trigger on my handgun the area that I shot explodes and is uninhabitable for hundreds of years.

RE: good!
By Kurz on 2/8/12, Rating: 0
RE: good!
By OoklaTheMok on 2/8/2012 4:22:33 PM , Rating: 5
I would say that it is the same to a certain degree, it is more a matter of scope. One person vs. another person, one country vs. another country, with the idea that the tool used is designed to incapacitate the other.

RE: good!
By AEvangel on 2/8/12, Rating: -1
RE: good!
By Siki on 2/8/2012 3:45:22 PM , Rating: 3
The police only show up after a crime has been committed. That generally doesn't help the people involved. I too would encourage people to carry weapons and defend themselves as they need to. You shouldn't believe that the police will magically appear in time to save you. Such simply isn't possible most of the time. Nor should you believe the police will even care.

The good that comes of people believing in protection via the police force and judicial system stems from them discouraging people from hastily acting on their own.

RE: good!
By wordsworm on 2/8/12, Rating: -1
RE: good!
By Jalek on 2/8/2012 9:45:56 PM , Rating: 2
And yet, with generations of gun owners here, not once has a family member been shot. Admittedly, I haven't fired at a human since leaving the military, but even then it wasn't anyone I knew.

RE: good!
By Schrag4 on 2/9/2012 1:34:13 PM , Rating: 2
Actually the odds say you won't shoot anybody. Perhaps you meant to say you're more likely to shoot a loved one than a burglar. Both are pretty unlikely.

The odds also say you're not likely to get into an automobile accident either. Does that mean you shouldn't wear your seatbelt? I'm all for personal liberty, which means I don't care if you wear your seatbelt, and I also don't care if you arm yourself, but please allow me to make those choices for myself.

Also - odds are you won't encounter any violent crime. But if you do, odds are the police will show up minutes, if not hours or even days, after all is said and done. Contrary to popular belief, they're not out there to directly protect the public. On rare occassion they happen to be in the right place at the right time to stop a voilent crime, but usually they just deal with the aftermath. The way they generally protect the public is by going after criminals after they've already committed a crime (to try to prevent further crime).

One more thing, since we're talking about odds. Your children are FAR MORE LIKELY to drown than to be accidentally killed by a firearm. Does that mean you won't get a pool for your family? Does that mean you won't even let your kids swim?

RE: good!
By Schrag4 on 2/9/2012 4:18:34 PM , Rating: 2
I thought I'd add a few thoughts. Just like anyone with a pool needs to take steps to ensure that children (not just their own) cannot wander into their unattended pool (fenced-in yard, ladder inaccessible for above-ground pools), gun owners have a lot of responsibilities. These include not only securing guns so that kids cannot play with them, but also teaching their kids to respect what they're capable of and *gasp* teaching kids to handle them safely in case they DO get their hands on them (at your house or somewhere else). Gun owners who make the decision to defend their homes with their guns also need to train with them! A shooting sport such as IDPA can go a long way toward developing proficiency with these weapons, not to mention it's just a lot of fun!

If all this sounds like too much trouble, I actually would encourage you NOT to own a gun. I don't need you accidentally putting a hole in someone and making responsible gun owners look bad. Just my 0.02

RE: good!
By FaaR on 2/8/12, Rating: 0
RE: good!
By 91TTZ on 2/8/2012 4:21:42 PM , Rating: 3
Why do people who are opposed to something always claim that it's some sort of penis compensation?

I think that most people who have a concealed carry permit are doing it for self-protection, not to show off. Besides, many of these people are women who neither have nor want to have a penis.

RE: good!
By kjboughton on 2/9/2012 1:27:10 AM , Rating: 1
There's a lot of unstable people out there...

According to the guy that just described how he would kill someone in cold blood, "if" he were a criminal.

So, because you're at least, somehow -- almost as if subconsciously -- still cable of correctly identifying yourself as a nut-job, you go one step beyond and further suppose that because you're obviously someone who has already quite clearly demonstrated publicly that you should under no circumstances be entrusted with a firearm, "there's a lot of unstable people out there" (just like you...)

And I didn't think I'd find anything entertaining on the internet at this hour.

RE: good!
By kjboughton on 2/8/2012 2:12:28 PM , Rating: 3
You're a dunce.

There's no such thing as spying or eavesdropping on public servants (which a peace office certainly is). Especially when they're working in the public, for the public, being paid by the public at large, all while using property and equipment purchase using funds taken by threat of force (taxes) from the...yep, public. Do you see where I'm going with this yet?

We employ them. They work for us. We get to know what they are up to at all times. Capiche?

Go tell your boss he can't ever observe you or know what you are going and see what happens.

We've allowed the police to get away with anything and everything for far too long. What we need is more accountability, not less.

RE: good!
By dragonbif on 2/8/2012 2:52:46 PM , Rating: 1
WOW! you're the dunce.

The police are paid by the public to keep the public safe. And part of that is to keep the victims safe by keeping their names and info confidential. This also includes possible suspects who have not been formally charged.

You must be one of them so called anarchists who cry about this stuff until your name is mentioned on the radio and you were just the victim of a rape or something.

PS if the officers are doing something wrong they are not going to talk about it on the radio. They pass info to dispatchers and other officers and not things like, I am having a good time shoving a stick up this guys A$$.

RE: good!
By kjboughton on 2/8/2012 3:07:43 PM , Rating: 5
The police are paid to enforce administrative law and to take reports of crime after the fact.

They do not "keep you safe." That's your job.

Point of fact, the police have no duty to protect you.

Start your research here:

Welcome to reality.

RE: good!
By Camikazi on 2/8/2012 3:44:21 PM , Rating: 2
How do the police keep the public safe when they are a completely reactive force? In order to keep the public safe they would have to have Minority Report type abilities and stop crimes before they happen (which has it's own major problems) :P

RE: good!
By tastyratz on 2/8/2012 2:51:16 PM , Rating: 2
And a police scanner is leading to accountability? Have you been listening intently to ensure a proper lunch hour observance?

The police communications on a radio I think absolutely SHOULD be kept from the public. We should not be privy to their day to day private communications because at the same time we allow criminals to. If I were a criminal I would love to hear things like "car 6 eta to scene 6 minutes"
and that sort of tool for criminal use should not exist.

Many other ways to monitor public servants exist and this has 0 to do with accountability. I would love to see you try the "my taxes pay your salary" line at your next traffic stop though.

The police work for "you" no more than the wal mart shelf stocker because you spend your money there.

RE: good!
By Etsp on 2/8/2012 3:00:21 PM , Rating: 4
The police communications on a radio I think absolutely SHOULD be kept from the public.
In real time? I agree. However, I also think that all police radio communications should be recorded, tamper-resistant, and be made available with 12 to 24 hours. Accountability is important, but it doesn't need to be real-time.

RE: good!
By tastyratz on 2/8/2012 4:27:29 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, that I could agree to as a fair compromise... In theory. digital communications would make this more easily handled.


I also then would imagine the radios would need centralized access or could not appropriately log and function peer to peer only without car to car "black boxes" and portable radio black boxes. This makes it more sticky for police operating out of rural areas without cellular coverage to contract. Just how do you actually get that data, and at what cost to the taxpayers?

RE: good!
By Etsp on 2/8/2012 4:49:04 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think that adding a local blackbox for radio communication in the vehicles would be all that difficult or expensive. Heck, it could sync with a central server wirelessly when they pull into the station.

RE: good!
By Rukkian on 2/8/2012 2:59:07 PM , Rating: 2
They are not stopping anybody from getting the information, it is available, just not real time.

To use your analogy - how many companies do you know where your boss has a web cam and mic pointed at you to watch you 24/7. Nobody would work there. Accountability can be done after the fact as well without possibly messing up criminal investigations.

I think that if they are going to do this, it should all be recorded and those recordings should be available (maybe 24 hours later?).

RE: good!
By BZDTemp on 2/9/2012 6:05:20 AM , Rating: 2
So you're saying all things public servants talk about should be public? I'm betting you have not thought this through even remotely!

Let's say there is a domestic thing going down at your parents - do you really want everyone to know of this? Or how about your tax records? Or school papers? Crimes committed by kids? And how about crime victims - let's say you raped do you really want the world to know?

The thing about what is talked about by public servants it that's it will often be about individual people and those people have a right to privacy. If you want complete openness about what goes on in the public sector there can be no privacy so there needs to be limits.

RE: good!
By Samus on 2/8/2012 2:40:34 PM , Rating: 2
My neighboring police department in Evergreen Park, IL, has had a digitally encrypted system shared with other suburban police departments of Oak Lawn, IL and Burbank, IL, since 2002.

I just assumed most police departments were the same.

Chicago still uses an analoge system but the city is so broke I don't see them getting any new equipment anytime soon.

RE: good!
By OoklaTheMok on 2/8/2012 4:18:38 PM , Rating: 2
I can imagine what they would do if it was other way around, police listening to their conversations without a warrant

That is a bit of a false equivalency. The police are public servants, and members of the media aren't. When these events are happening, the police are public servants working in the public interest, whereas members of the media are employed by private companies working in the public interest.

RE: good!
By Reclaimer77 on 2/8/12, Rating: 0
RE: good!
By dragonbif on 2/8/2012 2:14:39 PM , Rating: 5
We have had these digital encrypted radios for over a year in our city. Anyone can go and get a copy of the radio traffic for the day at any time. However the city is allowed to edit the audio and take out names (minors most of the time) and other edits. They have a week to do this.

The city made the change fast to digital after the local media let slip a minors name in a news cast when they played a recording of it. This minor was a victim of sex and that did not sit well with the people in the city. The local media here took the city to court to get one of the digital radios but the city attorney waved that little mishap in their face and they had to give it up.

The local media can be just as bad as anyone else when it comes to public safety. All public record can be edited for the safety of others and for privacy but these edits have to be approved by the courts.

RE: good!
By kattanna on 2/8/2012 2:39:06 PM , Rating: 2
The city made the change fast to digital after the local media let slip a minors name in a news cast when they played a recording of it

yep. they only seem concerned with being first, and not concerned with others safety, or even being correct.

I remember once hearing the news station giving a blow by blow account as they listened to the scanners.. giving away the officers movements. they have NO need for such access.

as a funny aside.. i read the other day about news not checking graphics they used in a rush to do a story about krispy creme donuts. In their rush they pulled a krispy creme logo off the web. But they didnt bother to read the caption that said "so good, you will suck cock" and that aired on TV.

the media needs to get over themselves, they are not the shining beacon of information freedom they think they are.

RE: good!
By KOOLTIME on 2/8/2012 3:28:05 PM , Rating: 2
Blame your local police as being EVIL, when your to lazy to get a law for it in house to get those things you deem your city needs access to publicly on demand, and how you need access to them.

Should be asking your mayor these questions, not blaming a local operational unit, about such details. Want this as immediate public access information, then get it voted on by your city.

Police are not EVIL as people make them out to be, many save lives every day, show them some respect. Sure bad people are everywhere in every occupation. But that doesn't mean they are all bad. So stop blaming them as trying to cheat the public in some way.

RE: good!
By Qapa on 2/8/2012 4:53:27 PM , Rating: 4
Completely agree.

Real time police scanning makes no sense, and can provide help to criminals.

If you want to make it simpler for media or whomever getting recordings of that, make it public after some time... like 24hours or so. That should also be enough to justify that it won't put police in peril.

Cry Babies
By Dr of crap on 2/8/2012 12:56:19 PM , Rating: 2
While I am not for the police being able to rough up anybody they can -
We are way to soft on criminals - cable in jails, being on death row for years and years, Joe Apieo ( spelling) Arizona sheriff has it right. Let the police do their job and JUST MAYBE the crime will be less.

And I can see the posts to this --
Don't give the cops to much leway
We need checks on our police
Wait and you'll be sorry the cops have to much power -
ect, ect....

And the local news guys are crying because they can't report on the latest police activity - to freaking bad.
Maybe they can focus on news that's really good, rather than saying they have "breaking news" like I even care who is the first one on sence!

RE: Cry Babies
By Jeffk464 on 2/8/2012 1:50:20 PM , Rating: 3
With story after story of police misconduct in the news why would you think that the public doesn't need to keep an eye on them?

RE: Cry Babies
By drycrust3 on 2/8/2012 2:46:24 PM , Rating: 1
"Keeping an eye on" is vastly different from "invading privacy". The police are nearly always dealing with people who are victims of crime or misfortune. Those people have a right to privacy. Why should the media be allowed to snoop into the lives of those people without their permission?
Sure, there are police who don't follow the rules, but I would say most cases that involve misconduct by officers aren't exposed via the police RT, they are exposed by hard evidence by the victim or by eyewitnesses who tell the media. If the police have misconduct that is so endemic that it can be heard on the RT, then the media would have lots cases that they could investigate. I would doubt a single story on the TV or in the newspaper is going to fix that sort of problem.
Yes, there would be some cases of misconduct that are exposed by listening into the RT, just as there would be some crimes exposed by peaking into your neighbours bedroom, but those would be very rare.
As the police say, criminals use these devices to help in the commission of crimes.

RE: Cry Babies
By OoklaTheMok on 2/8/2012 4:03:49 PM , Rating: 3
Let the police do their job and JUST MAYBE the crime will be less

Did you know that the violent crime rate is currently at the lowest levels since the mid 70's? So there is no "maybe" to it. The crime rate has been going down steadily since 1992.

With this fact, the police don't need these "tools", they have been making fine progress without it.

And lastly, you have heard the notion that the media is the fourth pillar of democracy, right? It's job is to report on what the others are doing, even while they are doing it. If you require the media to file a Public Records Request or a FOIA request for everything, that is 1. prohibitively expensive, and 2. impedes the ability of the media to report on events in a timely manner.

RE: Cry Babies
By Qapa on 2/8/2012 4:55:15 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, but organized crime, for sure gets information from this to thwart police attempts to stop them.

So, making this, not real time is good.

Making this easier after some time - say 24h - might also be a good idea. Like simply making all of this public after such time.

RE: Cry Babies
By leadpoop on 2/8/2012 5:00:42 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, but organized crime, for sure gets information from this to thwart police attempts to stop them.

I would like to see some research on that! I mean come on, that's like me saying that there has never been any abuse by the police and most crimes happen because people have the 4th amendment available to them.

Get what I'm saying? Gibberish! Same as you.

RE: Cry Babies
By Jalek on 2/8/2012 9:49:35 PM , Rating: 2
You're talking about violent crime. The focus has been on illegal drugs and copyright infringement now being criminal.

Five years for posting a YouTube video is what the recent bills were proposing and nobody was trying to amend them. You'd commonly get less time than that for armed robbery, but convenience stores didn't have lobbyists spending over 100 million last quarter.

I support this
By corduroygt on 2/8/2012 1:02:31 PM , Rating: 5
As long as we the citizens can do the same and are allowed to videotape anything that happens in the public without repercussions...

RE: I support this
By Obujuwami on 2/8/2012 2:17:28 PM , Rating: 2
I believe there was a court ruling in several states that enables the common person to tape a cop when they are in public. I seem to remember reading that on here...

RE: I support this
By tayb on 2/8/2012 3:08:21 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure if you are being facetious or not but if not this is the actual article you are referring to.

I'm not sure what the current status is. The police likely appealed to the Supreme Court but that may or may not have actually happened. And even if it did judging by recent Supreme Court rulings I feel pretty confident it would be a unanimous or near unanimous agreement that video taping officials is LEGAL.

Will this stop criminals?
By tayb on 2/8/2012 3:02:49 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if criminals will be able to break the encryption and listen in on this?

A popular phrase is that you can take the guns away from average citizens but the criminals will still have them. I wonder if the same applies here.

RE: Will this stop criminals?
By Rukkian on 2/9/2012 9:41:31 AM , Rating: 2
My thought would be that if the criminals can do it, then so can the media. There is no reason to have realtime access to police conversations. Have it time delayed (even 30 minutes would do it).

By leadpoop on 2/8/2012 4:51:37 PM , Rating: 2
One should never give up transparency(or any right for that matter) for the faux sense of security! There is no argument you could use that would when any debate about it. History is the story teller of truth. And history has spoken many times, yet we always repeat it.

~We should stop letting people drive because they might drive under the influence.
~People should not be allowed to own homes because they might be willing to do illegal activities in said homes.
~We should stop letting single women have kids because the child may be hurt in a single family environment.

The fact is they are public servants. They have no privacy while on the job. If a few criminals happen to use a police scanner to figure out where you are the so be it.

RE: Transparency?
By Jalek on 2/8/2012 9:51:47 PM , Rating: 2
I've listened to enough radio traffic to know that if they were in a tactical situation, most departments already have tactical channels. Those could be encrypted, but for the Sunday morning discussions of where the fish are biting, encryption is hardly necessary.

an argment from both sides
By Netscorer on 2/8/2012 1:16:52 PM , Rating: 2
I can see police point in trying to keep operational details out of hands of criminals. I also understand importance of maintaining complete transparency in all police duties as they serve the public and are funded directly by it. The reasonable compromise would have been to broadcast police communications on both encrypted and open channels but institute a time delay (say, 30 minutes) in order to keep sensitive information from the wrongdoers, while operation is in progress. Media can also be issued authorized radios with certain restrictions in place if time delay is not allowing them to do their work properly.

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