Jan 23, 2013 7:42 PM by Q2 News
BILLINGS - If you have a scanner at home to monitor police and fire department calls, you've probably noticed the air waves have gone silent. This is the second week the city of Billings has their new radio system in place. The switch was made from an analog system to digital on January 14,2013.
The transition began several months ago. City officials say the new system replaces some older, outdated equipment that was in use.
With those changes in place, the Billings Police Department has requested another upgrade. "At some point in time we would like to go to an encrypted system," said Lieutenant Kevin Iffland with the Billings Police Department. "With that encrypted system, even the digital scanners at that point would not be able to receive our communications. And again, that's at the chief of police level and the administrator level, exactly when or if they want to go to that type of system."
From a public safety stand point, the department believes having an encrypted radio system will decrease the number of observers that arrive to view crashes. Lt. Iffland said having extra people at the scene of a crime or wreck can slow down the progress of their work.