Scanner Encryptions Stir Up Controversy

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – The Eugene Police Department is encrypting its radio channel soon saying it’s for officer safety.

For officers with the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety they say criminals are tuning in to the police radio whether it’s during traffic stops or search warrants.

Southern Oregon residents believe police radio channels should remain public believing it’s a right to listen in.

“I can see why for a neighborhood watch, they would want to know if somebody is loose and there’s a murder that’s occurred or something like a break in,” Medford Resident Tyler Beard commented. “They can inform people around them.”

On the same token, they can see how keeping channels open can become an officer-safety issue.

“What they’re trying to do, they’re trying to keep it so the criminals aren’t following where the police are,” Beard added.

The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety doesn’t plan on changing its system anytime soon. For now, they plan to use other methods.

“We use phone, cell phones, Nextel system and Communication Direct link with that and we also use our mobile data terminals in the cars,” Lt. Jim Hamilton said. “We do a lot of instant messaging back and forth between the officers.”