Local News

New apps provide free, easy access to police scanners

Posted December 4, 2017 7:23 a.m. EST
Updated December 4, 2017 7:27 a.m. EST

— There's a new way to listen to police broadcasts, and it's a lot easier than buying an expensive radio.

While first responders rely on their radios to stay connected, the public can now access the same channels using a smartphone application.

One of the most popular scanner apps is Broadcastify, which features almost 6,000 police, fire and EMS channels as well as two-way aviation, railroad and marine broadcasts. Users can search by name and location, create a list of favorites and get a notification for major incidents.

It's free for iOS and Android, but premium features are available for purchase.

Multi-taskers might want to check out the 5-O Radio app, which has a lot of the same features as Broadcastify but runs in the background users can listen while they use other apps. 5-O Radio is free in the Apple App Store, and, like Broadcastify, premium features will cost a few bucks.

Android users can check out the Police Scanner app. Like the 5-O app, this one lets users listen in the background, and it also includes the ability to listen over a slower internet connection.

Police Scanner is free, but the pro version is $4.99 in the Google Play Store.

All of this is legal -- but how do law enforcement officers feel about it? Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison says listening and learning about police work is fine, but don't join in.

"You're always gonna have the nosy people, and that's okay," said Harrison. "We'll deal with it when they get there. But the fewer the better."

Harrison also says his deputies and other officers are aware of security concerns when they're talking over the radio about where they are.