Viewpoint: Who's listening to the cops?

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - We as citizens want to do everything we can to protect our law enforcement officers. However, a move by the Albany Police Department to scramble their radio traffic from the public is not a move we believe that will significantly increase the safety of officers.

In fact, such a move will all but certain put the people the police department serve at greater risk. If citizens are able to hear police radio traffic, they can take measures to protect themselves if a violent crime is committed near their home, school or place of work.

Citizens can also take protective action if they hear on their scanner there are armed or suspicious persons in their neighborhood. Scrambling radio traffic will also cost law enforcement a valuable tool when it comes to citizens tips on criminal activity and the location of possible suspects.

But the bigger issue here is listening to police radio traffic allows the citizens of Albany to monitor their police force. Albany taxpayers have the right to know what the police department they pay for is doing 24 hours a day.

We ask the Albany City Commission to work with the department to develop a policy on when police radio traffic should be kept from the public. Such a policy set forth very strict guidelines for when radio traffic can be scrambled and when it should be open for the people who are paying for it to listen.

If you agree with us, we ask you to contact your Albany City Commissioner.