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Radio silence: As police encrypt dispatch transmissions, questions build on the public's right to know

Original post made on Feb 5, 2021

Police departments throughout the Midpeninsula are following Palo Alto police, which on Jan. 5 abruptly announced it would immediately encrypt its dispatch radio communications, to protect certain private information.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 5, 2021, 11:38 AM

Comments (6)

Posted by sjtaffee
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 5, 2021 at 1:00 pm

sjtaffee is a registered user.

Encryption is a tough issue and one that should not be unilaterally decided upon by any government body without full disclosure and discussion among interested parties. Private entities, such as corporations, obtains huge amounts of data on citizens already and sell it to others, both government and private, without much oversight. We should not go down this road without striking a reasonable compromise between security and privacy. When it comes to policing policy we must be even more careful as police have extraordinary power over citizens and are often perceived as operating without sufficient accountability as to how they uphold our constitutional rights which they may find inconvenient.

Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Feb 5, 2021 at 1:31 pm

pearl is a registered user.

Police radio transmissions need to be encrypted for the protection and safety of police officers, as well as for victims. Bad guys listen to police radio channels all the time!!! There is no reason for the consuming public or the news media to be listening to police radio transmissions.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Feb 5, 2021 at 3:22 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Why not release recordings of all radio traffic after a 24 hour delay?

Delayed release of radio transmissions provides no threat to police operations that occurred 24 hours ago.

The same is true of body camera footage.

Transparency is essential to ensure public support and confidence in our police.

Posted by DC McGlynn
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 5, 2021 at 4:22 pm

DC McGlynn is a registered user.

Incredulous that the Town of Atherton also wants to spend $250,000 on encrypting their police transmissions, reported on the same day the police blotter noted a single call from a resident of the Town who said someone threatened her over the phone! Call logged .. SMH

So reminiscent of the bumper sticker 'It will be a great day when all the schools in America have enough books for every student and the Air Force has to have a Bake Sale to buy a new Bomber'.

Is there no better way to spend $250,000? Almost as ridiculous as the Menlo Park Police request last year to spend $500,000 approx. on a Mobile Indecent Command Center (when Palo Alto have one and Menlo Park FD have one). Thankfully someone saw some sense to that!

Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of Atherton: other
on Feb 7, 2021 at 9:15 am

Thoughtful is a registered user.

Atherton's police department cannot stop home robberies occurring on a weekly basis, week after week, even though we pay them the majority of the town's budget.

$250K to encrypt their scan transmissions? $250K would pay for private patrol for a year that would likely have a meaningful effect on these robberies!

Talk about continuing to double down on bad bets.

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 7, 2021 at 10:39 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.


and yet the citizens of your town continue to over pay ridiculously for police protection. Could it be because then they don't get traffic tickets or get driven home when they are DUI? Those are the only two reasons that make any sense for people that are smart enough to get incredibly wealthy and yet make the stupid decision to waste millions on a police department.

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