Pasadena Police Department Keeps Digital Radio Signals From Media, Public
February 8, 2012 12:31 PM
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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
"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.
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RE: Cry Babies
2/8/2012 1:50:20 PM
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
2/8/2012 2:46:24 PM
"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.
"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
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