Legislator introduces measure allowing news media access to scanners

Assemblyman Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) has announced he plans to amend legislation in the next few days to allow members of the news media to continue to access law enforcement radio communications – commonly known as police scanners.

AB 1555 would state that law enforcement agencies must provide access to encrypted police communications upon the request of any news service, newspaper, radio, or television network as defined.

The legislation comes on the heels of law enforcement agencies throughout the state preventing local media from being able to monitor police scanner activity in their communities. In the Coachella Valley, for instance, the local media were cut-off from listening to police scanners thanks to a vote by the local authority that operates the police communications system.

Monitoring police scanner communications allow newspapers and broadcasters to report on breaking news events, emergencies, active shooting situations, public safety hazards, natural disasters, traffic conditions, and more. AB 1555 explicitly articulates the right of news media to access these scanners.