People who tune in to police scanners to keep up on what's going on are going to be out of luck before long.
 
Alberta's first responders, including police forces, are phasing out radio scanners in favour of a new digital system.
 
"What's happening is we're changing our radio communications system; it's going to AFRACS, it's called, Alberta First Responders Radio Communications System," explained Staff Sergeant Kevin Charles of the Drumheller RCMP.
 
The shift could impact how media and the public receive timely information about major police incidents, as well as smaller scale crime and disorder in neighbourhoods.
 
A Service Alberta spokesman said the system will allow first responders to better share information. Agencies have the option of encrypting communication on the network so the public cannot listen, but encryption is not mandatory.
 
"It's rolling out province wide," noted Charles. "I'm told that for Drumheller, for example, possibly this fall we might see it come here."
 
"The RCMP is going to that: it's a digitally encrypted system so police scanners won't be of any use," he added.
 

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