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Lewiston-Auburn police stay radio silent — for us

Lewiston-Auburn police stay radio silent — for us

Lewiston-Auburn police stay radio silent — for us

Dec. 21—On an exquisite early night within the late summer time of 2021, Lewiston and Auburn police held certainly one of their summer time nights.

Dwell music, a bouncy home, cops in all places mingling with the general public and having time laughing.

One police officer beamed that such incidents have been “vital to interrupt down the partitions between the group and the police.”

A great time was had by all. It’s fantastic when the police meet with the general public to serve them.

After which just a few days later, the police departments — each in Lewiston and Auburn — went silent. Their new police radio, bought with $4.5 million in taxpayer {dollars}, shuts the general public out utterly. Tune into their channels and you will not even be greeted by derogatory hisses. Simply… nothing.

On the time, Lewiston-Auburn 911 Communications Heart Director Paul LeClair defined it to a frantic reporter on the lookout for solutions: “The 800MHz radio system (Auburn and Lewiston) police frequencies are 100% encrypted. The interpretation is that LA911 will guarantee new radio system expertise. Police frequencies are protected and encrypted by administration. LA911 doesn’t present entry to police division frequencies to private security businesses. Let me know you probably have further questions.”

All CAPS have been LeClair’s they usually emphasize vital factors right here. Until you are a cop, you are not allowed to listen to what they’re doing on a dwell foundation anymore.

Not you, Mr. Reporter Man, who listens to the scanner so he can preserve the general public up to date on breaking information.

Not you, Mr. Retired Fellow, who likes to take a seat on his porch at night time and take heed to what is going on on round him.

Not you, nervous mother, tune in to see if it is protected to convey the children to the park.

After years of going over how they wish to regain public belief, police in Lewiston and Auburn have shut that public down totally. After utilizing the phrase “transparency” in each different sentence, they went down the least clear route doable.

So far as I do know, there hasn’t been a lot dialogue about this at Metropolis Corridor. There could also be grumbling a few new police radio system, however somebody has introduced that this new system (paid for with our tax {dollars}. Did I point out that?) will shut the world right down to all police chatter.

It has been a yr and a half of radio silence within the Twin Cities now. Ask the folks behind this transfer why they shut us down like that they usually’ll discuss vaguely about defending private knowledge; about federal encryption necessities; About how vital it’s to close the typical citizen off from police radio chatter.

All this and but Lewiston and Auburn are the one police departments in Maine to go the total encryption route. Why is that this, precisely?

“As a result of L.A. is doing it out of selection, not out of necessity,” stated Judith Meyer, govt editor of Solar Media Group’s Solar Journal, Kennebec Journal, The Morning Sentinel and Western Maine weekly newspapers.

The mayor has sat down for talks with varied teams, together with police and communications officers, behind the transfer to stay silent in an try to barter a compromise.

Agreements have additionally been reached in different elements of the nation. For instance, in Palo Alto, California, the police division has proven good religion by establishing a system that permits the general public to entry their radio visitors and in different methods protects private figuring out info. They discovered a compromise as a result of they have been prepared to seek out one.

Full police radio encryption is not the norm but — as of late summer time 2022, about 100 police businesses throughout the nation had chosen to go that route — and in lots of, if not most, instances the place it is put in, police have discovered some solution to preserve the general public and media within the loop.

“So, it’s doable — factually and technically — to stability public entry and officer safety if a division truly needs such a stability,” Meyer stated.

However in LA, the police dug of their heels. As of August 2021, the media and the typical Joe and Jane are utterly deaf to police radio transmissions. There aren’t any indicators that the police plan to relinquish full management of the knowledge they forcibly seize.

It is the “why” that will get you. I’ve spoken to many road stage police they usually do not perceive both. The rank and file appear as confused as I’m — after so many a long time of shared communication, why change now? In spite of everything, the police have strategic channels for strategic conditions. On this state of affairs the radio visitors goes silent for us civilians and nobody complains about it.

What they’re denying us now could be their minute-to-minute radio visitors, which is normally a low hum of experiences of barking canines, automotive wrecks and neighbor issues interspersed with occasional drama that features shootings, fights and different shenanigans.

When the encryption system first went dwell, police claimed absolute radio silence would assist fight irresponsible reporting of reports on social media. This, in different phrases, will assist forestall rumors and false experiences from being circulated among the many public. However I am right here to let you know: they have been mistaken about it. Nowadays, with no police offering even the only of particulars a few growing incident with out grumbling, rumors and speculations a few given state of affairs have solely change into wilder and extra outlandish.

Did you actually suppose the general public would wait all day in your press launch earlier than they began speculating, Chief?

I’ve been screaming about this case for over a yr now. In Chicago, the outcry has simply begun, as Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced a plan to chop off the media and public from their police communications.

I do know their ache. I hear (or used to) police scanners as a result of somebody has paid me to take action for the previous 28 years. Radio visitors is my bread and butter, you would possibly say.

However I do know lots of people who tune in strictly as a result of they wish to know what’s taking place on the streets round them. If there’s an additional dimension hole underneath the block, they wish to find out about it. If there’s a taking pictures, they wish to get plenty of actual info.

Scanner visitors is, for some, a solution to preserve themselves and their households protected. It retains them knowledgeable.

The police don’t desire us to have that entry. They wish to obfuscate their day-to-day enterprise by deafening the remainder of us, like a standing military that does no matter it does and you do not thoughts a factor.

Is that point now? Now, when is the division between police and group most precarious? What concerning the dwell bands, bouncy homes and all of the occasions that the police so fortunately promote within the park?

This radio silence is a kick within the pants for many who all the time assist the police. It is a kick within the pants for anybody, actually, who desires to remain related to what is going on on round them

As of at this time, if you would like details about police enterprise, it’s important to depend on social media rumors or watch for an official police press launch. They management the circulation of data, in different phrases. utterly.

Is {that a} good factor? Do we would like our relationship with the police to proceed like this?

It isn’t on me, bub. If this factor stands, we have a brand new form of police state right here in Lewiston-Auburn the place you solely know what they need you to know. Somebody goes to must shout louder than me to vary that.



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