Protect public and press access to police radio transmissions, pass SB 1000

Orange County Register

For decades — ever since the first two-way radio was used in Bayonne, New Jersey in 1933, connecting the Police Department headquarters to nine of their patrol vehicles — newsrooms have listened in, too.

Not out of any prurient interest, or to spy on law enforcement. That’s our job, to let our readers, listeners and viewers know what’s going on in their communities.

The squawk box on the police reporters’ desks can be loud, and filled with mostly inconsequential communications: “Car 54, where are you?” Everyone but the journos whose jobs it is to follow what’s going on down at what is affectionately known as the cop shop have to learn to basically tune out the radio traffic so they can concentrate on other things.

But it’s truly public information, that radio traffic, and some hobbyists at home have long listened in too, sometimes phoning into newsrooms to make sure we haven’t missed some important incidents.

We the taxpayers literally own that information on the airwaves. Law enforcement works for us, after all, not for themselves. We’re not interested in what’s going on f..or prurient reasons, and certainly not to interfere with police officers doing their jobs...

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