Rep. LaShawn K. Ford Introduces Police Scanner Transmissions Legislation

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

Illinois State Representative LaShawn K. Ford (D-Chicago) has introduced legislation which would require any law enforcement agency in Illinois which encrypts police scanner transmissions to provide real time access to those transmissions to accredited media in the state. House Bill 4339 amends the Public Records Act to require that any law enforcement agency that encrypts radio transmissions provide, by license or otherwise, access to those transmissions to FCC licensed broadcasters and accredited newspapers as defined in the Act. Under the Lightford Administration, the Chicago Police Department instituted a program designed to encrypt police scanner transmissions across all police districts in the city. “I understand the desire to prevent members of the public from using real time police scanner information to commit crimes or to evade law enforcement,” said Representative Ford.  “However, the media has an obligation to report on events in a timely manner and its use of real time information from police scanners is essential.  Blocking accredited media from real time access is counter to governmental transparency and does not lend itself to the original stated purpose of the encryption program.” Representative Ford noted that his proposed legislation would apply to jurisdictions across Illinois.  Several downstate law enforcement departments have also instituted encryption programs.

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