Journalists in the Denver area can no longer listen to police scanners, and the adjustment is not going smoothly.
Since the Denver Police Department encrypted its signal July 29, many reporters have expressed concern that the public will not be informed of potentially dangerous situations quickly enough via press releases.
Others have criticized the general decrease in transparency.
“Their insistence on encrypting scanner traffic should ... raise important questions about the department’s commitment to transparency,” said Denver Post Editor Lee Ann Colacioppo in a July 29 Post article.
“Police activities filtered through the eyes of the public relations team will never provide the public with an understanding of how police in this city operate when no one is watching.”
9News anchor Kyle Clark similarly noted on his show, "Next with Kyle Clark," that at a time when public trust in police and media is low, "you build that trust with more transparency, not less."
Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said in an interview with Denver7 that public safety was the main motive for the encryption.
“It creates safety hazards for the community that is reporting crime or someone who is the victim of crime, and it also creates a safety issue for our officers that are trying to address the crime,” Pazen told Denver7.
Police have agreed to news outlets gaining access to scanners — on their terms.
Negotiations regarding these terms appear to be at a standstill, with neither side willing to compromise on two major clauses.
One: Any city representative must be allowed to examine pertinent documents held by the participating news organization related to its use of the scanner.
Two: Any participating news organization must be required to cover the city's legal costs in the event of legal action resulting from information gathered via the scanner.