Public Safety & Homeland Security

Council OKs Funding for Encrypted Police Radios

Encryption would prevent members of the public from using scanners to listen to officers’ communication.

by Natalie Allison Janicello, Times-News, Burlington, N.C. / May 17, 2017
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(TNS) - The Burlington, N.C., City Council approved Tuesday night a budget amendment to purchase new equipment and software to upgrade the police and fire departments’ radio system.

The $1,187,410 request would cover the cost of new back-end equipment to support radio communication, as well as new radios to replace old ones and software to upgrade radios replaced in the past several years, all of which would then be outfitted for encrypted communication between police and fire personnel.

Encryption would prevent members of the public from using scanners to listen to officers’ communication, which Police Chief Jeffrey Smythe has described as a safety concern.

“It’s a much-needed improvement for both our fire department and police department in their operations,” City Manager Hardin Watkins said.

Council member Jim Butler made a motion to “authorize the funds to be committed for this project and to be expended after July 1, 2017.”


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