Apr 19, 2013
96 notes
Why are police scanners open to the public?
As a Boston police manhunt took shape early this morning, Twitter feeds and Reddit threads were full of reporters and civilians tracking the events. Many people were using police scanners and apps that made Boston’s police frequencies accessible on the web. For those who knew where to tune in, these frequencies provided incredible drama. A shootout took place in real time. Those listening to the scanners were able to hear it all unfold. That’s why scanners have been used for years by journalists and curious eavesdroppers: they put police actions in public. They allow any mildly savvy, curious person to listen in on the process of law enforcement as it happens. A 1997 article from the Society of Professional Journalists called police scanners “about as necessary in a newsroom as is the pen and notebook.” 

Why are police scanners open to the public?

As a Boston police manhunt took shape early this morning, Twitter feeds and Reddit threads were full of reporters and civilians tracking the events. Many people were using police scanners and apps that made Boston’s police frequencies accessible on the web. For those who knew where to tune in, these frequencies provided incredible drama. A shootout took place in real time. Those listening to the scanners were able to hear it all unfold. That’s why scanners have been used for years by journalists and curious eavesdroppers: they put police actions in public. They allow any mildly savvy, curious person to listen in on the process of law enforcement as it happens. A 1997 article from the Society of Professional Journalists called police scanners “about as necessary in a newsroom as is the pen and notebook.” 

  1. stephincontrol reblogged this from thisistheverge and added:
    I personally tune into police scanners on a regular basis. While usually nothing exciting happens, it is interesting to...
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    I have wondered this before.
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