LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas’ capital city will begin streaming time-delayed police dispatches online next month after police this summer blocked access to their radio communications.
The computer-automated dispatches will be posted starting Oct. 1 on the city of Little Rock’s website 30 minutes after they occur and will be available for eight hours, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported (https://bit.ly/1pcLKOC ).
The data will be automatically taken from computer entries made by police dispatchers. It will have the time, location and nature of a police incident, but will not provide subsequent information after a dispatch is posted, such as whether police have completed their response or whether an incident’s location has changed.
Police Chief Kenton Buckner cited officer safety as the main reason in encrypting real-time radio communication starting July 31. A Cabot man and two Sherwood brothers in August filed lawsuits against Little Rock, claiming the city had violated the state’s Freedom of Information Act.
City Attorney Tom Carpenter has said certain information that police broadcast, such as license plate numbers and home addresses, put the city at risk of violating privacy laws.
Little Rock city manager Bruce Moore presented the system as a compromise among police, the city, the public and the media.
Ward 7 City Director B.J. Wyrick said she thought the system was a “good start” but that “there is some action that’s taking place out there, and people are not going to be able to protect themselves.”
Before city police radio communications were blocked from the public, Wyrick said she often used a police scanner to receive live updates on traffic conditions to plan her route home from work.
She said that information would be valuable to the public if there was a police pursuit spanning multiple locations.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com
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