The Tracy Police Department will switch to encrypted radios next week to keep police radio traffic from being heard by members of the public.

A news release issued on Thursday said that the police department will transition to the encrypted radios next Wednesday to comply with California Department of Justice mandates and guidelines requiring every law enforcement agency in the State to encrypt radio transmissions to protect sensitive information.

The police say the mandate is designed to protect the privacy and identity of any person, including the victims of crime, whose information is broadcast over police radios.

According to the statement Tracy police looked at alternatives to encrypted radios, including using a separate encrypted radio or cell phones for protected information but decided against it stating, “these alternatives would require additional staffing, may delay the sharing of time-sensitive safety information and impact situational awareness – both important for both officer and public safety.”

Current Tracy Police radio frequencies can be monitored with scanners, cell phone apps and internet-based programs. After Wednesday no one will be able to hear the police radio transmissions.

Police said about the change, “Once this radio system update takes place, the public will no longer be able to monitor Tracy Police Department radio communications. We recognize that this change may cause some concern, as it reduces public transparency. The Tracy Police Department will continue to keep the community informed of crime trends, police activity, and incidents of public interest in a timely fashion through, our online Crime Mapping and our social media platforms.”

The police said they will continue our practice of emailing daily press and arrest logs to the local media outlets who have requested them.

The Tracy Press receives the police log – which includes the time of an event, a street name, the type of call and a one-to-two-word disposition, such as “felony” or “services rendered” – as well as an arrest log. No additional information is included, and a separate Public Records Act request must be made for each individual event from the police log to receive additional details. A redacted copy of the event log is then sent to the paper. Tracy Police legally has 10 days to respond to any public records requests.

• Contact the Tracy Press at or 835-3030.

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leonard lunsford

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