In order to comply with a mandate from the California Department of Justice, the Glendale Police Department will switch radio communications from clear to encrypted operations on Oct. 2.
In 2020, the DOJ notified every police department in the state of a policy update that mandated the transmission of sensitive, personally identifiable information be encrypted.
The mandate aims to protect the privacy and identity of anyone whose information is broadcast over a police radio. As a part of patrol operations, officers transmit names, dates of birth, addresses and phone numbers. This information may be related to a victim, suspect or witness, so encrypting the radio transmission will ensure their privacy.
“At present, our primary radio channel remains unencrypted, making our radio communications accessible to anyone equipped with a commercial scanner or a smartphone app,” said GPD Sgt. Victor Jackson in a statement. “The absence of encryption leaves our radio transmission vulnerable to interception by individuals with malicious intent, potentially compromising our operational security and enabling them to evade law enforcement detection.
“We understand there may be concerns regarding the perceived lack of transparency associated with encryption. Our Wireless Systems Management team evaluated potential options to avoid the encryption mandate but found no practical solution.”
Media and community members may continue to track crime information on the Glendale Police Department website. In the “Crime Prevention / Service Log” section, visitors can access the LIVE calls for service logs, daily booking logs and monthly crime statistics.
The Glendale Police Department will continue to use Instagram, X, Facebook, Nextdoor and the GPD webpage and distribute information to media outlets to keep the media and community informed.
As this change was initially mandated in 2020, most L.A. County independent police agencies have already made the change to encryption, or it is imminent.
Additionally, Glendale Fire Department radios will be reprogrammed to ensure communication between agencies remains seamless.
“The Glendale Police Department is committed to providing the highest level of public safety services through proactive policing, professionalism and community partnerships,” Jackson said. “This update to our radio communication, in conjunction with the continued community support of the Glendale Police Department, will enhance our ability to achieve our mission.”
First published in the September 23 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.