POLL: Do You Think Mainers Should Or Shouldn’t Have Access to First Responder Scanner Information?
According to the Bangor Daily News, emergency responders are having a hard time keeping information between themselves and its causing problems with rumors on social media and even problems with emergency crews doing their work.
Listening in on scanners has been a pastime for many years here in the state of Maine. Now, the past time has converged with social media and things are getting out of hand.
Facebook groups have been created to report on scanner activities of first responders across the State of Maine. Information exchanged between police, fire and ambulance and other first responders are being listened to by those who can easily listen in with their own scanners or by listening to live audio feeds available on the internet.
As a result of emergency information being passed and discussed on social media so quickly and by no one connected to the actual emergency situations, incorrect information has become rumors and instances have transpired where random citizens show up to these emergency situations. One situation in Bangor led to rumors of a triple homicide in the City that was actually three duffle bags full of stolen items.
Lewiston and Auburn Police Departments have started to encrypt their scanners. Bangor Police Department has looked into encryption but was ultimately unable to switch due to 'technology constraints'. This has led the department to alter their communication while continuing to use their scanner system but avoiding specifics so scanner pages won't interfere/infer/speculate on an ongoing, information gathering situation.
Administrators of the local Facebook pages and those that take part in the scanner conversations say this information that is available to the public and it should remain available to the public. Adding to their argument they say that emergency responders are paid for by our tax dollars so we citizens should know what is happening in our area when the scanners are being utilized.
So, what are your thoughts? Do you think the public should have the right to freely access emergency responders' scanner communications and the information transmitted or do you think the public should not be able to hear the goings-on of emergency departments so that incorrect information may not spread quickly on social media? Or, could there be a middle ground found?
Give us your thoughts. Vote below:
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