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No Encryption Of Dispatch Radio Communications

Concerning dispatch radio communications by government entities.
2018 Regular Session
Crimes, Corrections, & Enforcement
Local Government
State Government
Bill Summary

The bill states that each entity of the state government and each entity of the government of each city, county, and city and county (government entity) shall broadcast its dispatch radio communications without encryption such that the communications may be monitored by commercially available radio receivers and scanners; except that:

  • A government entity may encrypt tactical radio communications or investigative radio communications so long as the encryption is necessary to preserve the tactical integrity of an operation, protect the safety of law enforcement officers or other emergency responders, or prevent the destruction of property; and
  • An investigative unit of a government entity engaged in the investigation of criminal conduct or potential criminal conduct may encrypt its radio communications.

Any government entity that encrypts any of its dispatch radio communications shall disclose on its public website and make available for public inspection a list of its radio communication channels, a description of the functions allocated to those channels, and an indication of which of the channels are always encrypted or sometimes encrypted. In describing the functions of the channels, the government entity shall indicate whether each channel is used for tactical radio communications or investigative radio communications.

Any person has standing to bring an action for injunctive relief in district court against any sheriff, chief of police, fire chief, or other administrative head of any government entity for an allegedly unlawful encryption of dispatch radio communications.

Any person who monitors dispatch radio communications of a government entity for the purpose of perpetrating or attempting to perpetrate criminal activity or assisting another person in the furtherance of criminal activity commits a class 3 misdemeanor.

(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)




Bill Text


Sponsor Type Legislators
Prime Sponsor

Rep. K. Van Winkle



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The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details