A year after the legislature passed a law on police radio encryption, Denver-area news outlets are still blocked from listening

By Jeffrey A. Roberts
CFOIC Executive Director

Following three years of failed bills, state lawmakers in 2021 finally agreed on statutory language to address the trend among Colorado law enforcement agencies to fully encrypt their radio communications.

provision inserted into police accountability legislation requires agencies to create a “communications access policy” for letting local news media outlets listen to primary dispatch channels “through commercially available radio receivers, scanners, or other feasible technology.”

But a year after House Bill 21-1250 was signed into law, reporters still can’t tune into Denver and Aurora police radio transmissions like they did before both agencies blocked public access — Denver in 2019 and Aurora three years earlier. Although each department has a written policy on radio access, neither has reached an agreement with any Denver metro news organizations.

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