The trend of encrypting radio traffic on a full time basis is catching on in Florida. Jacksonville has decided that neither the public nor the media has any expectation of listening in to their radio traffic and their reasons make no sense at all. The Sheriff's Office has first stated cost and then security concerns, unable to keep a straight story.
The bottom line is that keeping the public from hearing everyday communications is an act of communism, and fosters distrust between the city's Public Safety community and the citizens they serve. Encryption is usually reserved for sensitive operations that could be otherwise jeopardized without it. Full time encryption of all communications is a waste of money, and serves no real useful purpose other than to snub the public who are oftentimes law abiding and serve as the extra eyes and ears of their local, county, and state Public Safety Departments.
Media outlets make a good argument for public reception of Public Safety Radio traffic in that it allows motorists and other community members to plan alternate routes around emergency scenes and serves to keep the media able to inform the community of safety hazards. When public Safety Departments get to chose how and when to notify the public of important events, the community usually only gets a sanitized version of events that is oftentimes found to be full of disinformation and notification usually only comes many hours or weeks AFTERWARDS.
Using the argument of "security and privacy" or the now cliche' "9/11" excuse does not an actual homeland security issue make. In the absence of an actual trend of criminal use of Public Safety radio communications or use of such to facilitate criminal acts, and in the absence of a trend of people using communications to interfere with Public Safety duties / emergency scenes, full time encryption is just an indicator of a Department that has something to hide. This is straight fact, not opinion.
Shame on you Jacksonville!