July 2019 Denver Police Radios Go Dark

Police Scanner, photo by Shane Anthony ColoradoNews1.com

07/29/19 Denver, CO –

The end of July in Denver marked the end of an era in police monitoring as Denver PD made the switch to fully encrypted police radio transmissions.  As a scanner enthusiast of several decades, I state it is with extreme sadness and disappointment that I mark this somber scanner monitoring occasion.  The Denver Police Department, and Chief Paul Pazen made the switch the last week after lengthy radio testing stating that the encrypted radios would make for safer police work in Denver.  Arguments for and against encryption raged over the last few months with the chief adversary of complete encryption being the Denver News Media.  DPD proposed monitoring radios to the Media at a cost of over $4,000. per radio but only if the Media agreed to a lengthy and complicated monitoring agreement which was drafted by the Denver City Attorney’s office.  To date, none of the Denver Media (including ColoradoNews1.com, the major television stations and the Denver Post) has signed the agreement, which essentially leaves the Media (and therefore the public) in the dark.  DPD says the new encrypted radios will keep officers safer, prevent criminals from monitoring police activity, and keep sensitive victim information off the public air waves.  Opponents, including the Media, fear the new radios, which are secretive in real time, will hinder the ability to keep the public informed of dynamic and rapidly changing news incidents.  Denver PD will still make audio clips of newsworthy incidents available via open records requests however, the audio tapes will not be available in real time to the Media or the public.

Denver Police File Photo by Shane Anthony ColoradoNews1.com

As a lifetime scanner buff, this news comes a serious disappointment to me.  I am pro law enforcement and I believe officer and public safety come first, but I also fear this move which encrypts all police traffic will severely hinder the professional Media’s ability to adequately serve the public and will keep the public in the dark of general police activity and behavior.  The Denver Fire Department encrypted all of its radio traffic with the exception of the Fire Station Vocal alarm last Spring citing compatibly concerns with Denver PD.  What this means to the public in practical terms is: no more monitoring of Public Safety in Denver.  The public will have to rely in great part now on Social Media alerts from Denver Police and Fire.  We at ColoradoNews1.com will do our very best to keep you informed of Denver incidents, but you are likely to see a slowdown of incidents and information of such posted here or elsewhere in the Denver Media from this point forward.  Shane Anthony reporting, ColoradoNews1.com


Author: Shane Anthony

Shane Anthony is a veteran Denver Photojournalist and Reporter of over 30 years. He loves the thrill of chasing a big breaking news story and bringing it to the viewing public.

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