Is D.C. government open and transparent?

Censored D.C. Fire & EMS twitter feeds and MPD radio silence raise questions about whether D.C.'s new policies do more harm than good.

Deputy mayor Paul Quander says it's all about safety.

“Police communications is private for a reason,” he said. “There are safety concerns, there are logistical and operational concerns.”

But secure lines of communication are already available to D.C. Police.

Encrypting MPD radio transmissions - heard on scanners - has already handicapped other law enforcement agencies. Sixty percent of Prince George's County Police radios are not equipped to hear encrypted information - information agencies depend on sharing.

If there's a legitimate safety concern, some people say they understand.

But even those who can accept the encryption say they don't understand censoring tweets and taking away its very essence: Instant, real-time information.

D.C. Fire has nearly 10,000 followers who use it to track emergency situations as they happen, like a wildfire for example.

Experts in crisis communication are criticizing the district for "un-informing" the public by filtering tweets.

Despite being pressed by reporters to explain why tweets would be censored no one at the press conference would answer, other than to say a tweet "imperiled" another D.C. agency.

See Mayor Vincent Gray and other D.C. officials defend their policies at a Wednesday press conference.

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