OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — People who follow the police scanner for up-to-date information on how to stay safe could soon wait longer if the Omaha Police Department changes its radio approach.
Department spokesman Lt. Neal Bonacci confirmed to 3 News Now Investigators that Omaha police are considering making its main public police radio channels private. He said such a decision, if made, would take “that open or public access away.”
Bonacci said reporters were getting ahead of those internal discussions, describing internal talks as preliminary. Other officers told us off-camera that they were farther along than that, that the change could take place within a matter of months.
Open-government advocates, including ACLU Nebraska, argue police should embrace transparency to build trust. The police union has said it would support fully encrypting the public radio channels to reduce the chances of suspects fleeing before officers arrive and to avoid potential ambushes.
The people behind social media sites like Omaha Scanner and Lincoln-Lancaster County Scanner said they worry what the public might be missing.
Bonacci sat down with 3 News Now Investigator Aaron Sanderford weeks after the station started filing public records requests about the potential change. Here is more from the interview: