Hagerstown police switch to fully encrypted radios

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - Hagerstown Police Chief Mark Holtzman says the department is moving to a fully encrypted radio system because the proliferation of wireless technology allows criminals to listen on their cellphones.

Holtzman tells the Herald-Mail of Hagerstown that cellphone apps make listening in on police communications possible.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office, and Boonsboro, Smithsburg and Hancock police are also using encrypted communications.

The move to encrypted communications will improve security and officer safety.

The encrypted police communications does not affect fire and rescue calls, Holtzman said.

Radios purchased by Hagerstown police two years ago came equipped with encrypted and unencrypted channels, and did not require additional expense.