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With certain applications on an iPad, “the bad guys will know exactly what the police are doing at a specific time before they are ready to act,” said Paul Quander, deputy mayor for public safety.

Officials have documented cases in which officers were in harm’s way because of intercepted communications, Mr. Quander said. However, neither he nor fire officials would elaborate on specific examples or potential scenarios in which first responders could be imperiled.

Mr. Quander said that in the future journalists who rely on the communications will have to be “creative.”