Don’t scramble broadcasts

Minot (N.D.) Daily News: Soon the days of Minot residents and members of the news media having access to police emergency broadcasts will be a thing of the past. The Minot Police Department this year plans to scramble all of its radio broadcasts.

As a news-gathering organization, the change is obviously a great concern. Newspapers and other media use the emergency broadcasts to monitor police calls, as well as fire and rescue calls. Having an emergency scanner in the newsroom is a tradition at newspaper newsrooms and other media locations.

Minot Police Chief Jason Olson and other law enforcement officials have expressed concern that the broadcasts could be used by criminals to track police activity, and that personal information of anyone interacting with police officials could mistakenly be transmitted. While we don’t doubt that there is potential for the criminal element to use police broadcasts to enhance their illegal doings, we question whether that potential is actually being realized.

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