When you already own and use viable systems that do not create an additional expense or training or replacement scenario… Then there must be another reason to go full encryption.
This extra expense to the people of Scotts Bluff County was unnecessary, but water under the bridge at this point. (Unless they committed to millions in loans)
For years, the police department and sheriff’s department has employed a tactical system that is fully encrypted, in addition to their swat tactical channel. Furthermore, they each have their own personal cell phones, which officers around the country most commonly use.
The alternative is to spend millions of dollars on ‘new’ radios and full encryption to ‘increase officer safety’. That is something we fully believe in. In fact, we delay and do everything possible to make sure our officers are not put in harms way.
However, if an officer has been trained on communications and how to use tactical channels and his cell phone, then it would be his responsibility to protect any sensitive information. This is 3rd party liability 101! They also have a computer aided system called a CAD that they communicate securely over by texting.
We will always protect our first responders, but we are also here to protect their rights, and every citizen’s right to public information that is helpful to safety and awareness.
There is a trade-off on both sides of this issue. We of all companies understand. We value life and safety over anything else, and any insinuation contrary to that is insulting.
The Point : They ALREADY had working secrecy! This $5m additional expense was absolutely unnecessary when SB County already had systems in place that worked just fine.
Why the new silence?
They say it’s for safety.
“There is a sensitivity to that safety aspect for us, as well as the public, of the increased likelihood of a crime in progress being solved because we’ve removed the ability for that suspect in that situation to have real-time access to our locations and our tactics,” said Lt. Tori Boldt, Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office.
The ACLU of Nebraska disagrees. They said the encryption will hurt accountability and we fully agree. However, that is not our beef. We actually trust our officers on the beat, but there still needs to be accountability. We don’t think the police need to be accountable for where they are or what they’re chatting about. But in the middle of an active case, the public OFTEN TIMES assists. They are CUTTING off ALL assistance from the public for a tiny bit of privacy AT WORK that WE PAY FOR.
That’s not our beef, like I said. No, our desire to have access to the public scanner feed is to HELP with Public Safety and Awareness. Going dark is going to literally scare the heck out of some people because they have become dependent on getting the truth in a timely manner.
Information is CRITICAL to public safety, otherwise there wouldn’t be an ALERT system. But those systems don’t alert the public of the kinds of events that we do. We verify and post information that can also save lives or keep people from driving into an accident scene or tornado for that matter.
“That information shouldn’t solely rest on a sheriff’s office Twitter account or their press releases being filtered out to media,” ACLU Communications Director Sam Petto said. “Media should be able to have access to information, and then through them, the public or the scanner accounts to get a more complete picture of the event.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the people of Scotts Bluff County think that it will cause more problems than not. We are actually betting on it because THIS scanner community was THE MOST HELPFUL EVER. They are losing out and making alot of people very unhappy and nervous. Is that how you want the public to feel about you… DOUBTING YOU now that you went DARK?
WE KNOW each Chief was given the opportunity to choose. We know this was not DIRECTED from above. You have great leadership at the County level and you were given the chance to go SILENT or to be transparent and careful. YOU CHOSE SECRECY. You will hear from THE PEOPLE.
TURN IT BACK ON SCOTTS BLUFF COUNTY.