St. Mary’s County Debates Merit of Encrypted Police Calls

Although backed by a majority of St. Mary’s County Commissioners, some have begun to raise concerns with a new policy to encrypt all police communications in the county. The policy, which took effect August 5, was requested by county law enforcement.  As reported by the Southern Maryland News:

Sheriff Tim Cameron (R) said he requested the radio encryption so criminals would not be tipped off to police responses over the scanner, and to protect the identity of victims of crime. Cameron said Tuesday that dispatchers can still use a countywide channel that some scanners would pick up.

He said no one has complained to him that they can’t hear police calls. “Are we less transparent because you can’t listen? You still have access to the information,” he said.

“I believe that this policy fails to balance law enforcement’s occasional need for confidential radio communications with the people’s right to government transparency and accountability, and so I believe this policy should be quickly reversed,” Aaron Giles of Leonardtown wrote in a letter to the county commissioners.