Letter: Lexington’s Radio Encryption

SHERIFF CANDIDATES SHOULD ADDRESS LACK OF TRANSPARENCY, ADDED COST OF ENCRYPTION Dear Editor; For many reading this letter this topic is going to seem very esoteric and maybe even a little hard to follow.  I will do my best to attempt to explain it in manner that everyone can understand….


Dear Editor;

For many reading this letter this topic is going to seem very esoteric and maybe even a little hard to follow.  I will do my best to attempt to explain it in manner that everyone can understand.

In relation to the Lexington County (S.C.) Sheriff’s race, I’ve yet to see any candidate address or any questions posed at the debates addressing the question of the full time encryption utilized on all Lexington County Sheriff’s Department (LCSD) radio channels.  LCSD went to full time encryption in 1999 and many people proposed that it would be much easier to conduct “illegal or immoral operations” since even routine communications are not able to be monitored by the public.

While encryption may be necessary on some channels such as those use to conduct SWAT Operations, or sensitive investigations there is little reason to encrypt dispatch channels and daily operations.  Many citizens own radio scanning equipment in order to maintain situational awareness and in the days when news outlets used to report breaking news rather than just waiting on a press release from the Ministry of Propaganda to read on air or publish in print most news rooms contained many scanners monitoring communications around their area.

In addition to denying citizens and outlet for local information and reducing the collective situational awareness of the community there is a monetary cost to encrypting the communications.  It cost the agencies $5.00 per radio per month for encryption service under the Palmetto 800 System and expensive encryption modules must be purchased for each radio.  As an example an APX-7000 portable radio from Motorola lists $3,834.00 for the basic radio and the encryption module and options needed to make the encryption work are additional $1603.50 per radio purchased.

(Note: Example equipment and option prices are taken from Wyoming’s state radio contract.  South Carolina-specific prices aren’t readily available however they should be similar).

No local public safety agency utilizes full time encryption on all channels with the exception of the University of South Carolina police department and LCSD.

The citizens of Lexington County deserve to know the position of each candidate on this issue.  Full time encryption is expensive, unnecessary, and reduces citizen oversight of an agency that has been shown to have at least some corruption issues.


Radio Linked Citizen


will folks david asiamah

RLC: Very nicely done. You took a dense subject and made it easily understandable.  

Wanna sound off? Send your letter to the editor HERE …


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Rampant Corruption March 2, 2015 at 10:53 am

I remember someone making the argument here that cops are justified in riding around in the car on their cell phone all day because radio communications aren’t secured…lol…what a mess the whole PD is.

Lexington should fire the whole department and start over.

shifty henry March 2, 2015 at 10:59 am

True about the cell phones. Some calls should not be open, and I’m speaking specifically about possible suicide situations.

Rampant Corruption March 2, 2015 at 11:07 am

Yea, but do they need to be on them driving around if they are using them for duty? Don’t they already have secure radio?

Victorious Secret March 2, 2015 at 12:06 pm

A secure radio does not automatically mean that all conversations are private. It simply means that those with the encryption key can participate, and those that do not have the key are shut out.

Thus, if person A and person B want to engage in a private matter, if they utilize the encrypted radio, then person C (who also is on the net) can take part while A and B can do nothing to stop C being included.

However, if A and B use a cell phone, then the problem is mostly solved.

I Don't Think So March 2, 2015 at 12:25 pm

I think you may have confused true encryption with the so-called privacy codes on those little FRS radios they sell at Wal-Mart and sporting goods stores.

Victorious Secret March 2, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Not sure what Wal-Mart thing you are talking about.

My experience with secured comms originates from using FM/VHF/UHF/SATCOM in theater. This includes SINCGARS & Have Quick frequency-hopping, as well as Crypto Net Variable and Key loading using an SKL.

The 800 MHz radios are fairly similar and while my primary aircraft does not use them, they operate the same, generally.

In sum, when I distinguished a cell phone’s privacy characteristics from that of a “secured net” I didn’t misspeak. Nor was I confused about “those little FRS radios.”

I will admit, I have never used one of the actual radios that are mounted in a LCSD vehicle. However, assuming the author is correct about the 800 MHz radios, then I feel pretty confident in my assessment.

I Don't Think So March 2, 2015 at 2:04 pm

Okay, that clarified things a bit. Other radios on the system necessarily do hear each other. Citizens lack the finances and abity to decode the LexCo system. Doing such is also illegal under ECPA of 1986. The point of their encryption isn’t to exclude other deputies but to exclude the public and they do that very well. Their radios may have a private call from one radio to one other radio as a feature tho.

Rampant Corruption March 2, 2015 at 1:40 pm

So all those cops driving around are having private conversations, duty oriented, that their colleagues should be hearing?


Rampant Corruption March 2, 2015 at 2:00 pm



A Lexington County Citizen March 2, 2015 at 5:36 pm

That is only LCSD and USCPD. Other agencies operate in the clear and seem to make things work very well without secretive, expensive, toys that the taxpayers foot the bill for so they can be kept in the dark.

I almost forgot, SLED’s radio traffic is mostly encrypted, too. God forbid we hear them doing absolutely nothing about public corruptionn in real time!

truthmonger March 2, 2015 at 6:43 pm

Nope. Most of the rest of us just use cell phones. Another layer of expense.

Disgusted March 2, 2015 at 12:38 pm

I have done nothing illegal or have no knowledge of such. Because I work for Lexington, you are saying that I should be fired and lose my retirement and pension that I have been investing in for the last 17 years? Feel free to expound on why you think that everyone wearing badge there should lose their job because one person messed up.

truthmonger March 2, 2015 at 1:14 pm

He probably gets a few too many tickets, or got arrested for beating his wife. You know the type. Ignore the stupid or it will give you (more) ulcers…

Rampant Corruption March 2, 2015 at 1:31 pm

Everyone knows that the biggest wife beaters out there are cops. Broken marriages and alcoholism are the trademarks of many a cop career.

Rampant Corruption March 2, 2015 at 1:36 pm

“or have no knowledge of such”

lol, not exactly a firm denial.

Regardless, let’s assume for a moment you are telling the truth-which I have no problem with.

I have a hard time believing that even those untainted souls like yourself have NO knowledge of the corruption within their own department.

In fact, I believe that 100% of the cops there all have knowledge of crimes being committed by their colleagues, and in the eyes of the law do you know what that makes them?

Accessories to crime. Criminals by default. If losing their jobs & pension are the extent of their punishment for being unable to stand tall for the law against their own corrupt colleagues then they should be thankful.

All4TheCops March 2, 2015 at 3:19 pm

Rampant Corruption – I can only assume you don’t like cops or the idea of what cops do for a living. I would suggest this. Complain if you want to but if your not willing to stand a post in between good and evil, then stand down and keep digging ditches or cutting grass. If you think you can do better, run for Sheriff and maybe you can fix all of Lexington’s problems. Otherwise, simply say thank you to the good cops out there that simply do their job and provide for their families. Believe it not, just because they all wear a badge, doesn’t mean then know each other in and out and for the most part, the good ones will stay away from the dirty ones because of the inevitable. I can also promise you this, a person as high as Metts was, did not associate with normal rank and file deputies. They are simply doing a job….go apply or shut the F%$# up!!!!

Rampant Corruption March 2, 2015 at 3:51 pm

“I can only assume you don’t like cops or the idea of what cops do for a living. ”

That’s really not it. I want accountability.

I can only assume you don’t like accountability for cops or the idea that they should be accountable in their job.

So you can shut the “F” up.

truthmonger March 2, 2015 at 6:52 pm

And you’re an idiot. Crooked cops don’t mix with honest cops, pure and simple. Just like criminals avoid cops and you don’t see Hell’s Angels hanging out with cops and having dinner. But they probably hang out with you, Rampant.

Rampant Corruption March 3, 2015 at 10:31 am

“And you’re an idiot. Crooked cops don’t mix with honest cops, pure and simple.”

If you could read Douchemonger, you’d have read that they don’t have to “hang out” with each other, just know that they are committing crimes.

A Lexington County Citizen March 2, 2015 at 1:33 pm

Is cell phone use now illegal in SC? If so, other than texting, when did that happen? If not, what is the problem?

Rampant Corruption March 2, 2015 at 1:37 pm

Ask those employed in the private sector how many personal calls they get to make during they day while they are working.

A Lexington County Citizen March 2, 2015 at 1:57 pm

Oh, do you mean the people who work 9-5, Mon-Fri, with weekends and holidays off and who are home with their kids at nights and on weekends? Do you mean the people who rarely miss a school play, ball game, piano recital, or like event because an emergency came up and they had to stay at work late or were called in because of one at the last minute?

Every job has its perks and its privations. I bet yours is no different.

Rampant Corruption March 2, 2015 at 2:04 pm

What does that have to do with anything? If you don’t like your job, you quite.

It’s SOP to make/take personal call on breaks & lunch in the private sector. On patrol in your cruiser is not personal time.

If you want to be able to make call on your bosses dime as routine, good luck finding that employer outside of the PD.

A Lexington County Citizen March 2, 2015 at 2:31 pm

If you want to be able to use your cell phone at work, oftentimes for work related issues, you could likewise quit your job and become a cop. Just be prepared to take a pay cut. Also be prepared to miss a lot of times with your family to include birthdays, holidays, ball games, etc.

As I said, every job has its perks and privations.

Rampant Corruption March 2, 2015 at 2:49 pm

“If you want to be able to use your cell phone at work, oftentimes for work related issues, you could likewise quit your job and become a cop.”

Yea, well that’s my whole point. They don’t care about their “boss”, the taxpayer.

I’m pretty sure that their job description & duties/responsibilities don’t include this “perk” you describe as the norm.

In fact, I’m pretty sure that if they went to their superiors to confirm whether they are formally permitted to use their cell phones to chat it up with their girlfriends, wives, etc. while on duty and outside of emergency situations the answer would be “No, you’re not.”

All4TheCops March 2, 2015 at 3:26 pm

Do this…..The next time you see a cop on the cell phone, stop and ask him what he is doing. Did you know that many citizens want to file a report and rather than waste tax payer money and drive upwards of 20 miles and waste time and gas, the officer will handle the report by phone. Providing the citizen with an expedited resolve and saving the tax payers by not wasting gas. I am pretty sure you don’t tell your Doctor how to perform a procedure on you or question when he takes a break to call and tell his kids good night, so why questions police officers. Feel free to confront any of them about and let us all know how it works out for you.

Rampant Corruption March 2, 2015 at 3:49 pm

“Feel free to confront any of them about and let us all know how it works out for you.”

Why would I “confront” them? If they cared about what I thought or their bosses they wouldn’t be doing it to start.

“I am pretty sure you don’t tell your Doctor how to perform a procedure on you or question when he takes a break to call and tell his kids good night, so why questions police officers.”

“waste tax payer money and drive upwards of 20 miles and waste time and gas, the officer will handle the report by phone.”

While they are driving? Really? They are taking notes, filing reports, etc. all while driving huh? Bullshit.

That you would compare telling a doctor how to do his job versus questioning the police I see driving around on their cell phone is laughable.

I don’t begrudge officer’s “taking a break”, in fact, I think that’s a good time for them to make their personal calls.

truthmonger March 2, 2015 at 6:50 pm

Hey, how about I get overtime pay for all the lunch breaks I have to work through when we’re too busy? Oh, wait, law says I’m exempt and they aren’t required to provide me a lunch break….

justme02 March 2, 2015 at 9:22 pm

not every call requires us to take notes. Further do you talk on your phone while you drive? Alot of times we end up explaining things to people on the phone and they are able to resolve issues with out us ever showing up.. Alot of calls come in are civil issues that we have no control over and they have to go to the magistrates office to fix. Get to handle alot of that over our personal phones saving the tax payers thousands. Sure i take personal calls and get to say “Gotta go and hang up before my kid gets to say bye daddy be safe tonight” I think that what i do for the area i work i should be able to talk to my kid before they go to bed. Because the reality is I am not 100% sure they will ever hear my voice again.
So….. go sign up for a citizen ride along and see what its all about. You’ll be surprised. Im not trying to provoke an argument with you, but i would recommend you take a proactive approach and investigate your claim before you make an accusation. I mean we have to investigate things before we file charges.. I would recommend you do the same.

shifty henry March 2, 2015 at 9:53 pm

” go sign up for a citizen ride along and see what its all about.” —

I’ve done three with cities and one with county, and I’ve enjoyed each of them. Were there moments in those dark places where a confrontation could occur – you bet, and after observing how the officer handled them I have much more confidence and respect for them.

My pulse rate and my alertness both increased because of the possibility of a nasty situation getting out of hand. Yes, a ride-along signs a waiver, and is not allowed to carry a firearm.

The county ride during eight hours at night took me to places in Lexington County I’d never heard of. We had 14 events(including one arrest of a guy with a sawed-off shotgun) during that night.

Another thing I learned is that when an officer, alone, is attempting to deal with a situation not to bring a crowd — he doesn’t need any distractions.

shifty henry March 2, 2015 at 10:04 pm

PS: Something else I learned is that I am not psychologically suited to be a street/patrol officer. I’d be either too lenient or too strict – which is not good either way.

Freind March 3, 2015 at 3:20 am

shifty, thumper has been saying things about you. See his comment in to this article.

truthmonger March 2, 2015 at 6:48 pm

Not sure about others, but I use my PERSONAL cell phone for BUSINESS. So, Rampant, does that mean you OWE me for the use of my personal property to provide service to YOU???

Rampant Corruption March 3, 2015 at 9:23 am

If by “you”, you mean “taxpayer”, why then yes, that’s a reasonable expectation on your part.

All4TheCops March 2, 2015 at 3:21 pm

I think you meant QUIT. You wrote QUITE….That has a different meaning. Kind of hard to take you serious when you do not know proper English. Stay Calm and keep cutting grass Rampant Corruption.

Rampant Corruption March 3, 2015 at 9:25 am

Don’t be a dumbass. When people have typing skill there’s something called “muscle memory” that comes into play. Go educate yourself on it.

I’ll tell you what’s hard to take seriously, anyone that doesn’t think cops need oversight, just like anyone else.

truthmonger March 2, 2015 at 6:46 pm

And if you don’t like the way things are done here, you MOVE AWAY.

shifty henry March 2, 2015 at 10:58 am

1,000 +….. Having open channels as mentioned in his letter would allow citizens to follow events such as wrecks (to avoid location if traveling), storm issues such as downed power lines, fallen trees, and such as that. Some cities allow calls to be on the internet.
A few years ago I monitored Columbia calls over a couple of days and heard about 80 domestic calls, and a cop chasing a dude through the Benedict College campus about 11pm. The cop was huffing and puffing when the dude fired a shot at him. The cop just kept after him until he caught him.

Dannis Bloom March 2, 2015 at 11:35 am

I’m danni bloom. I hate the Huggins
I wear a tinfoil hat
I’m not literate
I went to CHAPIN elementary
That’s as far as I got

easterndumbfuckistan March 2, 2015 at 11:37 am

Expensive and unnecessary option for 99% of what they do and the vast majority of the remaining 1% can be handled by cellphone. $1600 is some deputy’s raise for the year and at least $1500 / month in additional fees is yet another raise for people that are actually out making a difference. Encryption has it’s place but it is not in day to day operations.

Traffic stops and traffic issues, routine calls, and even major incidents if citizens can monitor the system they can be aware of fugitives in their area, avoid scenes and traffic snarls and be a more well informed person.

truthmonger March 2, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Don’t radio stations already provide driving advisories? Oh, and my W/T will always work, whereas my cell phone reception is often inadequate inside buildings or in outlying areas. I don’t want a murder suspect I’m fixing to execute a warrant on KNOWING I’m coming to get him. And I don’t want the press showing up in all their blithe ignorance to an unsafe scene or getting in my way and putting me or the public at risk.

Duh March 2, 2015 at 1:21 pm

Why are you on an daily operations channel serving a warrant on a murder suspect. See the OPs part in the letter about SWAT and Investigations being encrypted. Radio and TV station traffic reports are woefully inadequate, they are rarely timely and are get their information from citizen tips and Google Traffic. Some stations do get information from SCHPs online system but that’s only in SCHPs area i.e. not in incorporated areas.

A Lexington County Citizen March 2, 2015 at 1:43 pm

Right! Plus radio stations often get this information and put it out sometime after there is a problem. This may be to late to help you avoid the problem.

Lennon Durden March 2, 2015 at 11:44 am

My very important mall security job allows me to use a scanner, but I haven’t figured out how to set the channels yet. I hope they offer a class at Midlands soon.

Mike at the Beach March 2, 2015 at 11:48 am

Tin foil hats for everyone! Talk about much ado about nothing. There are a hundred reasons to encrypt daily dispatch traffic, and only one not to do so (and I don’t rank scanner-hound curiosity highly enough to overpower the other hundred).

Government Is Great March 2, 2015 at 12:05 pm

My, my, my, aren’t you forever just the ultimate little shill for greater government, masquerading as a pseudo conservative / freedom fighter?

Mike at the Beach March 2, 2015 at 12:13 pm

Common sense irritates some folks. I get that. The “freedom fighters” in this debate (not that there really is a debate here- there’s a reason no one is talking about this) are the tin foil hatters who seem to think that everything government does is somehow evil, and/or that they possess a Constitutional right to scanner-hounding. That’s all. There’s plenty of encryption going on in SC (contrary to what the letter’s author claims), and it makes sense. This issue is nowhere, and will remain so. Do you think bad guys ever buy scanners? Reporters wanting sensitive info not yet subject to FOIA? How about creepy wife-beaters and stalkers? Folks who ambush cops? Armed robbers? Drug gangs? Luckily, there’s none of any of that going on in the midlands, so you’re good.

A Lexington County Citizen March 2, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Right Sir! Citizens don’t need to know anything. They are to let those of us in charge do the protecting and ask no questions. We know what is best at all times for them and their families and they are not to question our actions or our motives. Nothing to see here folks. Please move along.


Mike at the Beach March 2, 2015 at 3:22 pm

Lighten up, Frances…

It’s this kind of hyperbole that weakens your position. There’s a huge logical leap from securing operational law enforcement radio traffic so that bad guys can’t tell when cops will be arriving at crimes in progress, where they’re calling out, how long Bubba can beat Bubbette before the first car rolls up, etc. and citizens not being able to question their actions. Next you’ll be calling me “sheeple” and referring me to stuff written by Glenn Beck or that crazy internet TV guy Alex Jones. It’s just common sense. Outside of lil’ ol’ SC, lots of agencies who can afford to encrypt their radio traffic do so. If you’re hot to uncover all of these law enforcement conspiracies and crime rings, it won’t be accomplished by scanner hounding. You probably won’t hear Koon jump on the radio in Lexington and say, “Hey Unit 27-Alpha, run by Bob’s place and pick up that bribe in the plain white envelope for me, will ya?”

A Lexington County Citizen March 2, 2015 at 5:28 pm

I need to lighten up? I just want situational awareness in my community. I didn’t say anything about hearing their corruption in progress, allthough I can tell you that sometimes things do slip out that weren’t meant to.

Geeze Louise, those jackboots must be getting tight and cutting off circulation to the brain. If you bothered to read elsewhere, you might have noted that not just anybody can program these radios.

Of course, all is so much better when only the Sheriff and his cadre of totally honest friends and associates have access to monitoring his dispatch traffic. That’s worked so welk forcus over the last 15+yeats now, hasen’t it?

Mike at the Beach March 2, 2015 at 7:58 pm

Ho…lee…shit. You actually used the “jackboots” thing in a sentence (with a bonus “situational awareness” thrown in for good measure)! Awesome, mi amigo- thank you for that (totally makes my point, thus saving me a few seconds here).

As for reading up on encrypted radios, I’ll pass on picking up technical info from the FITS discussion board, thanks. I’ve used radio and satellite encryption for almost 30 years, so I think I’m okay as far as being qualified to comment on it in a conversation with you. Your position is that your bizarre need to hear every utterance made on the dispatch freqs outweighs the obvious danger to crime victims, increased risks to cops, and near certainty that sensitive victim info will get picked up not only by the tin foil hat crowd, but the media folks as well. OK…I hear you. I just believe that makes no sense. Fortunately, most tax-payin’ normal people get this, so no worries.

Tazmaniac March 2, 2015 at 5:37 pm

That is just wrong Sir! There are times when Bubbette beats Bubba! Which is exactly why we will listen to a couple hundred transmissions or more just to hear that gossip gold.

A Lexington County Citizen March 2, 2015 at 11:52 am

I appreciate the author bringing this important topic to the public’s attention. It has grated on many citizens in and around Lexington County since former Sheriff Metts saw fit to turn the Lexington Sheriff’s Department into the Lexington Secret Police, over fifteen years ago. I attended the final Sheriff’s candidate forum in hopes of getting this question before all candidates. The moderators apparently thought more mundane, touchy-feeley, stuff like CDV, troubled youth, gangs, drugs, and the like could not be hashed and re-hashed enough, though.

For what it is worth, I did have the opportunity to speak briefly with Mr Ed Felix about this very topic yesterday. He indicated that he was not a proponent of encrypting police radio systems and would be in favor of tearing down the, “cone of silence”, if elected. For this and other reasons, Mr Felix will definitely be receiving my vote on Tuesday.

Rampant Corruption March 3, 2015 at 9:27 am

“Mr Felix will definitely be receiving my vote on Tuesday.”

I think my favorite position Felix espoused was the need for a “citizen review board”, which should be SOP for EVERY PD, no matter how big or small.

Felix seems like the best choice, but he’s never going to get elected.

Lennon Durden March 2, 2015 at 12:05 pm

What do all those numbers mean anyway? Can someone explain it to me?

A Lexington County Citizen March 2, 2015 at 1:38 pm

According to the display on the pictured radio, it may be programmed for the SC HEARTS Amateur Radio UHF repeater in Spartanburg.

easterndumbfuckistan March 2, 2015 at 3:30 pm

Stock APX-7000 picture from Motorola’s website. Someone at Mommy Moto is a Amateur Radio Operator I see. :)

A Lexington County Citizen March 2, 2015 at 5:00 pm

Must be, then. I didn’t know it was a Moto stock photo.

rdj March 2, 2015 at 12:22 pm

In case yall didn’t know Mike lives in a moated castle at the beach and hes scared if we all figure out how corrupt our government really is he might lose his paycheck. That’s all. Sorry Mike …. just amazes me that your so quick to call all tax paying citizens tinfoil wearing idiots yet all our elected officials are saints. If that were true we wouldnt be having these conversations.

Mike at the Beach March 2, 2015 at 8:06 pm

Dude…to whom are you talking? You’re cracking up a bit, friend. I get lots of paychecks from lots of sources, but only my retirement check is purely a government play. Besides, all taxpayers aren’t tin-foil hat types (for instance, I pay an ASS of tax every year), just the ones obsessed with kooky conspiracy theories. As for the castle, if you want one start yourself a firm and buy your own.

Lennon Durden March 2, 2015 at 12:39 pm

This one time, I was in the shower and I was listening to my scanner and I accidentally fell on it. It had to be surgically removed. Now it doesn’t pick up channels for shit.

shifty henry March 2, 2015 at 1:15 pm

heh! heh!

Tazmaniac March 2, 2015 at 5:25 pm

The Nation’s ERs are full of you fellers who “fall” on objects requiring medical removals.

InTheKnow March 2, 2015 at 12:42 pm

Although the general public would not use the idea of listening to police radios to the advantage or illegal gain, the criminals would. They would be able to track where law enforcement is (concerning LCSD) and would know what area’s to go to as it would appear a certain number of deputies would be in a specific area. Unfortunately, the bad guys will use this to their advantage to further their criminal activity. For instance, when you hear on the radio a bunch of deputies responding to Gilbert for big incident, the bad guy will know that now there are very few Deputies in Red Bank, vice versa as well.

truthmonger March 2, 2015 at 1:06 pm

Yep. Break into your home or business, and listen for the address to come over the scanner. Then be gone in a direction the cops aren’t coming from. Scanners today are small, some only slightly larger than a cell phone.

A Lexington County Citizen March 2, 2015 at 1:49 pm

You are demonstrating ignorance on the topic. Any scanners I have seen that are capable of picking up Astro or P25 digital are in the size range of at least an XTS 2500 or larger. The small ones are analog and do not do trunking.

truthmonger March 2, 2015 at 6:41 pm

Nope. And, for the record, I carry an XTS. I’m quite familiar. While it’s true that the small ones (Uniden HOMEPATROL series with Trunktracker IV, for instance) are a bit more expensive, but they ARE available to ANYONE. For smaller size, the Bearcat BC346XT is smaller than a Motorola MTS/XTS, and uses Trunktracker III. Next stupid comment, Lex???

APX-7000XE March 2, 2015 at 7:54 pm

The HomePatrol series is ok, but it doesn’t perform well with Palmetto 800 without manual adjustments to the factory programming. BC346XT is a little smaller than a XTS-2500 with the standard battery but not by much, most of the RadioShack/GRE radios are about the size of an XTS-3000/5000. None of these radios are “the size of a cell phone”.

It takes time, knowledge and more than a little skill with a computer and the software to get any kind of useful performance out of these radios. You aren’t going to buy any of them save for the HomePatrol series and get anything out of the box. With the HP series you can connect it to wifi and download the setup for your area, hit Law Enforcement and hear something but it’s going to be overly broad and likely be somewhat dated especially in reference to sites.

If you lack the ability to maintain radio discipline and the ability to control a scene then maybe you need to find a new line of work. Better yet I can probably figure out what agency you work for and who your are by your posts. There is a pretty good chance I know your supervisor, I know lots of people in public safety maybe you can be unceremoniously dismissed from your job.

Oh and I can vouch for Lex he’s a retired LEO and probably worked a tougher beat than you do at times in his career. Contrary to popular belief lots of LEOs are in favor of in the clear communication because they are more good eggs than bad one and Tyrone T. Thug can’t figure out how to receive the comms reliably anyway.

A Lexington County Citizen March 2, 2015 at 1:20 pm

It is not as simple as Mike@TheBeach and yourself would believe. Have you ever tried to properly (key word) program a digital trunk-tracking scanner? These aren’t the easy to program conventional scanners from the 1980’s. They are exceedingly difficult to properly program for 800 MHz trunked systems such as we are speaking of here. I promise you, Joe Thugg on the corner who can barely read or write his on name will not be popping in to Radio Shack and picking one of these up and listening to the po po later that evening while he and his homies plot their next drive-by. I see merit possibly for SWAT and maybe narcotics or like operations but not for dispatch channels.

I am a retired cop and I was supportive of citizens monitoring our comms when I was on the street. We occasionally got tips phoned in by citizens when we were looking for someone in their neighborhoods and they heard someone run through their back yard. They were listening to their scanners and knew we had a search going on in their area.

It galls me that I cannot know in real time, things going on in my area that I might be able to avoid or even assist in because Metts felt he had something to hide from the citizenry of Lexington County.

truthmonger March 2, 2015 at 6:32 pm

I doubt you worked the street. Probably worked in an office somewhere, or maybe the jail. NO street cop I know is in favor of open communications. Kinda like letting Joe Sixpack come walk through a crime scene to make sure the cops aren’t hiding anything. Plenty of ways to know what’s going on after the fact… FOIA, reports, watching the news…. is it a NEED to know, or simply a WANT to know?
Oh, and 800MHz trunk scanners ARE available to the general public, and YES, quite a few drug dealers (and media) buy them and have them programmed. Those scanners aren’t as expensive OR as hard to get as they used to be. Nothing more fun than trying to control an active scene while the media is trying to get in and get ALL the gory images.

A Lexington County Resident March 3, 2015 at 2:16 am

Hey dipshit, I worked the street my whole career, save for a couple of years at SCDC where I had a rep for making a lot of contraband busts and other violations enforcement, and the occasional (unwanted) tour on dispatch when there was no one else available who was qualified to run it for the shift. I have read and liked many of your posts but your chickenshit allegations regarding the nature of my duty because I don’t believe we are or were gods just because we have or had badges are not appreciated. Anyone who worked with me would vouch that I was frequently first unit on scene at 10-59, 10-74, or 10-83 calls, even when they were not in my area.

What was the scope of your job, writing speeding tickets?

3202 March 2, 2015 at 8:51 pm

Agreed- I have a few times.. walked into a house after a warrant service (On some really bad dudes who were also thugs) They knew we were coming and ditched the area. Took us hundreds of man hours to track them down afterwards. What did we find in their house? A radio shack trunk tracker. They are not difficult to setup as some try to say. Sure for the ones out there who had difficulty programming their old VHS to record their favorite show a few years ago it is probably difficult for you. But today’s youth who are now coming of criminal age are getting really sophisticated. I am for all law enforcement dispatch traffic to be encrypted. All of our dispatch channels are recorded and you can FOIA the tapes with nothing more than a simple letter to the agency. The only real use of monitoring our traffic is to evade law enforcement. Our agency transferred to 800 while i was there and i was a proponent of encrypting our dispatch traffic. However the extra monthly charge for having the service on kept us from doing it to all of our radios. When the P25 system comes online in the next year encryption will not have anymore cost that to initially add it to the radio. The monthly charge for encryption is going away under the new state contract associated with P25. So that in and of itself makes this a non issue. The idea that tactical channels can be encrypted and regular dispatch cannot doesn’t hold much water either seeing as those specialized teams operate on the same channels as the regular patrol units do. (THIS ISNT LAPD and we dont operate the way you see on TV! Yes SWAT was a cool movie.)

Sure you can turn encryption on and off, but in the heat of the moment with all the other decisions we have to make in a split second that will be monday morning quarter backed for 6 months to a year after we do it.. Do you really want us to have to sit their and fiddle with our radios??? At the end of the day this is purely an officer safety issue. And when P25 goes into effect (Its not in effect today as we are still on the old 4.1 system) the cost of doing business on the PAL8 is going down for the end user agencies.

Oh yeah…. one more thing the author didnt take into account. Lexington county being one of the pilot agencies of PAL8 who holds the license for the 800 frequencies has an ownership stake in the system. As some of the other counties do as well. They do not pay as much as other agencies do to use the system because they provide frequency and tower space to the system. So the cost of encryption for LCSD is way less and the cost for airtime is way less than the average agency on the system.

All this argument is – is a bunch of people that want to be able to listen to LCSD dispatch like they could in the days of 460 for their recreational enjoyment. If anyone is truly concerned about wrong doings of an agency they’d have a FOIA ready to go with a blank date on their computer ready to print sign and send. The likely hood of someone monitoring any agency at the exact right time to hear something bad has worse chances of winning the lottery.. mainly because the few.. the very few who do tarnish the name for the rest of us will use their cell phone… Good luck listening to that…..

3202 March 2, 2015 at 9:09 pm

I left out.. the frequencies and tower space are the ones in lexington county.. not state wide.. Im sure some heads exploded over that.. so i am clarifying.

A Lexington County Resident March 3, 2015 at 2:38 am

Again, situational awareness is my reason, as well as a lot of other citizens, for wanting to hear comms in real time. The five car pileup with fatalities on my way to the store, it makes my trip and your job nicer when I avoid it by taking a detour. The string of armed robberies around town to include my hood, it makes me a little safer when I know what the turd(s) committing them look like, just in case they happen to be in the convenience store when I walk in or come in after I do. Yes, I still go armed and would help you if you were on the losing end of a fight and I came up on it. That brings me to another negative about encryption. Prior to LCSD going dark in late 90’s, I had a trunk tracker and monitored them. If a deputy made a stop near my jurisdiction on midnights, I went to back him or her up becuse often their own backup was a long way off. When Jimmy threw the encryption switch, the only times his deputies got the courtesy backup was if I happened upon them because I could no longer hear them. I felt perfectly safe with clear comms for most of my career . Maybe I wasn’t paranoid enough.

3202 March 3, 2015 at 10:27 am

But the criminals situational awareness becomes a huge safety factor. The county uses sungard for their dispatch cad. It has the option to allow a public web view like schp does. Further county doesn’t respond to wrecks. So if situational awareness is what youre after then as a taxpayer you should demand they turn that web display option on. Day to day communications can turn into strategic at the drop of a hat and the same people who make those specialized responses are the same ones on the road. In this area you cannot separate traffic division from the road as doing so would separate them from their backup.

And contrary to popular belief they don’t have a swat team sitting at HQ (or anywhere else) just waiting for a call to go out.

I applaud you for wanting to help out and eagerness to be there for a deputy.. However you or anyone else pulling up on a traffic stop usually results in higher tension as now I have to figure out the new vehicles intentions while I deal with the stop I’m already on. We (im a citizen too) have no need to know live communications. As for the cost when p25 goes active there is no additional cost and you won’t be able to purchase an apx radio without the encryption board already in it. I’m all for putting the cad to the public view in the website. As for monitoring.. Its a safety issue for the officer that far out weighs someone with a curiosity wanting to listen.

A Lexington County Citizen March 3, 2015 at 12:43 pm

So, you advocate that I watch the screen on my i-phone to get my real time info on happenings in my area? Given all the recent hype and laws about texting and driving, is that safe? Funny that agencies of comparable size such as RCSD, Cola PD, Greenville CSD, and others operate in the clear and seem to make it work so well, even with every thug and criminal having the opportunity to monitor them. Is your agency somehow less skilled or otherwise impaired?

I probably didn’t make it clear in just mentioning working midnights and jurisdiction, but when I was backing deputies, pre-encryption, I was in a marked patrol car with blue lights on top and they usually seemed glad to have the extra presence. I have been assisted by citizens a couple of times in my career and was damn grateful when it was over. Of course, I wasn’t terrified of the civilian population I protected, either. A few characters were deserving of extra scrutiny whenever they approached, but not everyone.

I wish I knew who you were so that if I ever come upon you in a fight you are on the losing end of, I would know not to intervene and risk scaring you.

The level of terror you seem to live with because of your fear of citizens must be quite a burden to carry as you leave for work each day. Perhaps you can find a church somewhere that needs a full time custodian. Maybe that setting would be less terrifying for you. Then again, maybe I wasn’t paranoid enough.

Bible Thumper March 3, 2015 at 2:48 am

encryption key: kytqxyuf
Yyfuesxi h4fuug ugf 7uffy bfdtf gocog 53rdxwk . Y vtt tvtrxc ufd6 Yd5tc6rd u g 6

Michelle Flaherty March 3, 2015 at 8:26 am

This on time at the police academy, I stuck a radio in my pussy.

Dannie Bloome March 3, 2015 at 9:41 am

I’m the Dannie Bloome and I lived in chapin and moved to another province cause the mail feller is an naacp member and I can’t cotton to the folks in that there organization. Pretty soon I lived in then dad blamed cardboard boxes because I’m Dannie Bloome and we is proud people
However. This scanner bidness gots me all confused. I didn’t barely escape sixth grade and my reedin & ritin taint very gud
I do know that I been on the television and I wont hug a Huggins. I’m pretty edumacated and I knows my rites
I’m just sorry I pick fights with them what is my betters.
I m like a postage stamp
I’m only .49 cents but it costs a dollar to lick me

I’m Dannie Bloome. I’m a retard

Lennon Turden March 3, 2015 at 9:55 am

I’m Lennon Turden and I’d like to meet you “the Dannie Bloome.” I think we might have something in common. You see, I don’t like those “Huggins” either. I think they smell bad and even if they can seem to be quite “articulate” at times, they all have friends who like to rob and steal. In my very important MALL SECURITY JOB, I have to be on the lookout for those “non-swimming Democratic Huggins” all the time. Huggins are always robbing and stealing. I like to whip out my taser and give them some “whatfor” every once in a while, if you know what I mean. Gotta remind them of their place from time to time. Well, gotta get back to my fancy security job. I’d be awfully disappointed if a Huggins got away with stealing something while I was on the intrawebz.


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