In January 2016, the Arlington Police Department has begun encrypting police radio dispatch communications on our public safety radios. We understand that some of the community monitors our traffic on scanners and mobile applications.
Why is the Arlington Police Department moving to P25 compliance?
The department is required to move to a radio interoperability standard which is referred to as P25. The purpose is to maximize First Responders ability to communicate in times of crisis, incorporate functionality of ever-evolving radio technology, and maximize operational security in First Responder activities. Technology has progressed to the point that anyone with a smartphone had the ability to listen to law enforcement communications and not always with good intentions. We know that some in the community would exploit law enforcement communications to further criminal endeavors that could potentially place the public and officers at risk. This will further allow us to maintain a high level of officers safety while still balancing the needs of the public to know what’s going on in the community.
How will the public know what’s going on in the community?
The community will still have access to our active calls listing through our website by clicking “Current 911 calls” link from the dropdown menu “Popular Services.” The department will also continue to post top news, informative stories and press releases on our social media platforms and website. You can follow us on Twitter @ArlingtonPD, Facebook, YouTube, NextDoor and Nixle. Police Chief Will Johnson also posts information on his Twitter account @ArlingtonChief. Maintaining open communication is vital and this change will not inhibit our ability to connect directly with our residents. Local media will also have access to primary communication channels.
Will mainstream media still have access to radio communications?
Yes. The department has set up an agreement that would allow authorized media outlets or bona fide local news media access to our primary patrol channels in the interest of public information. “Authorized Media Outlet” or “Bona Fide Local News Media” shall mean a bona fide media outlet such as any entity with an FCC license to transmit over the public AM, FM, VHF or UHF frequencies or a newspaper organization that creates a print publication with a 100,000 minimum daily circulation which serves the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and monitors emergency radio communications of public interest.
What other North Texas cities are on the P25 system?
The Fort Worth and Grand Prairie Police Departments have also switched over to P25 systems.