Local PD broadcasting names/address/dob and SSN's over unencrypted radio

braindead0

Ignore the machine
My wife has taken to listening to Reno police and fire dispatch via broadcastify. Pretty much every day someone is broadcasting name/dob/ssn sometimes address of people they're in contact with. I told a friend about that (Captain in Ventura CA S.O.) and he was surprised.

Seems like a one stop shop for ID theft. I think we've got a few LEO's here, wondering if this is SOP...
 

jfrey123

Well-known member
I’ve heard them do it a ton over the years. They typically end up broadcasting the full information when there’s a false name being given or concern about false ID’s, that sort of thing. People who are trying to avoid being identified and carry no ID.
 

grumpyoldretiredcop

Member
Premium Member
With trunked/encrypted radio systems so common these days, I was surprised that Reno is still sending info in clear over radio until I Googled and saw the multitude of websites that rebroadcast LE, Fire, Medical, etc. traffic. Back in my day, sonny (smacks gums) heh heh, we had to break out the semaphore flags... well, actually, we had three radio channels to work with and info could be overheard by anyone with the cash to go down to Radio Shack and buy a scanner. I was just getting out of the business when my county went to a trunked and encrypted system. Guess there ain't no secrets from the Internet!

My county would usually give a truncated version of the info and we never used SSNs on the air, don't know why Reno sends them. That'd be the kind of traffic that would be sent via MDT.
 

braindead0

Ignore the machine
If someone gives suspected bad info, has no ID... I can't imagine anyone would think that person would provide a legit SSN anyway.

Maybe it's the motorcycle officers? I'm thinking they don't have terminals, but I would think that the PD has at least some encrypted channels available.

As part of my job I spend countless hours assuring that PII (Personally Identifiable Information) is secured properly....
 

jfrey123

Well-known member
They have to start by running whatever info their stopped person gives them. “Oh, no ID huh? That’s fine. Let me get your DOB and social.” When that comes back not matching any record for the state they claim residence of, or if it comes back to someone with a totally different description on fine, now LEO know something is up and they might be moving towards cuffing someone while they research further.

I agree it’s kind of shocking they’re still doing this in 2020, but I think it has to do with officers needing to do multiple things during a traffic stop (can’t bury their nose in a computer with someone who might be deceiving them, officer safety), could be a cop on foot away from his car or walking a beat, or other type situation. Seems to fall in line with some things they taught us in a citizen’s academy I took last year.
 

grumpyoldretiredcop

Member
Premium Member
Good point I suppose... we didn't have motors or foot beats. I've never asked someone for their SS number, it wasn't usually useful in the field at the time. Name and DOB was all I needed unless there was an indication that the subject was lying about their identity or came back unknown. If that happened, I had the option to detain and take the time to deal with the issue via MDT or other means without worrying about the subject running or attacking. Not a luxury that a motor officer has, but that's what backup is for.
 
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