Chicago Mayor Laurie Lightfoot has come under fire for ignoring local media members who criticized her administration’s move from traditional police scanners to encrypted radio frequency.
The coalition of news organizations said the new system would not be available to the public and would hinder journalists’ ability to listen in real time to alert the public to ongoing security threats.
A traditional police scanner transmission has always been open to the public, as well as members of the media, but the new encryption method can only be used by the police and those who have been offered the decryption key.
“Mayor Laurie Lightfoot’s administration has refused to meet with Chicago media representatives, who say it will affect journalists’ ability to cover events and alert the public to ongoing security threats,” the Chicago release said. WGN9 reported.
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“We are a coalition of Chicago news organizations concerned about this planned encryption and are sharing our concerns to raise awareness about how the city’s plan will affect our ability to bring you timely, accurate and potentially life-saving news. let’s see”, – in the letter. reads.
The letter also addresses last week’s broad daylight shooting at a Chicago courthouse and police district. The criminal shot more than 40 shots and managed to escape. The media that authored the letter claimed that the public did not see, hear or read that crime was happening because of the new system.
“The city of Chicago blocked all live scanner feeds, preventing you from knowing about this dangerous incident. It put the lives of everyone in that police department, everyone in that courthouse, everyone on that freeway at risk. ydi,” the letter continues.
News organizations also pointed to another incident that the media failed to report in real time after a man armed with a rifle walked through a Chicago neighborhood and was later shot by police.
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According to news organizations that contacted officials to request access to the encrypted channels for members of the press, the city said access to the press and the public would be granted with a 30-minute delay.
According to the city of Chicago, the new encryption method is being implemented in the areas. To date, eight zones have been held since May.
“Having encrypted radios provides additional protection for teams and the personal information of victims, suspects, witnesses and minors. It also increases officer safety and prevents suspects from gaining a tactical advantage by listening in on live incidents and investigations.” “, said the city. .
The city added that the method would also eliminate “dirty” radios that could interfere with emergency responders, bringing the city in line with other major cities that use similar technology, including Denver, Colorado, Louisville, Kentucky and several large cities in California. , including San Francisco and San Diego County.
The city reiterated that media and the public only have access to the delayed transmission, and did not indicate whether it plans to sit down with members of the media or change its policy in the future.
Media officials are concerned that the delay could harm the public during a fast-moving incident such as an active shooter incident, bomb threat or fire.
They also claim that Lightfoot and his administration have refused to meet with the media in person to discuss the matter, despite multiple attempts to communicate with officials.
Media outlets that signed the letter include the Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune, Fox 32 Chicago, WGN-TV, ABC 7 Chicago, NBC 5 Chicago and CBS 2 Chicago.
At least six people were shot and more than a dozen others were injured in another bloody weekend in Chicago, including a 14-year-old boy who was shot multiple times, authorities said.
In total, there were 17 shootings and 20 gunshot victims. Police said at least six people were killed in the weekend violence.