Civilian Access to Radio Frequencies Affects Law Enforcement - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Civilian Access to Radio Frequencies Affects Law Enforcement

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COMANCHE CO., Okla_ As the events of the officer-involved shooting unfolded Wednesday, hundreds of people, mostly regular citizens, listened firsthand as police searched for that missing suspect.

Thanks to today's technology, you can tap into the police radio frequency online or through a smartphone app, instead of needing an actual scanner. Having this much access for the general public has its ups and downs for lawmen.

Lawton Police, Comanche County dispatch, and the sheriff's department agree that there are definitely pros and cons when it comes to people listening in. Sheriff Kenny Stradley says the good outweighs the bad.

"The majority of the citizens are up in arms about an officer being shot," Stradley said. "People take it personal, and I think that's what you had."

Many people were scared; others wanted to help. They thought they could do that best by listening to the radio and helping law enforcement find the suspect.

Sheriff Stradley said they appreciate that help.

"Every time we got a tip, we were on it," Stradley said. "We were headed that way, so it's a plus for us."

He also said it's a good way for people to keep themselves and their families safe in the event of an emergency. We asked our Facebook followers whether they listened yesterday and whether or not they thought it was a good idea.

Stacy Deets Reynolds wrote,

"I was listening to it. I wanted to make sure that he wasn't coming our way."

Thomas Veld wrote,

"I think it is good to allow people to stay informed, safe and most importantly out of our law enforcement's way."

However, Stradley said that's actually where there is a downfall to people listening. He said some thrill seekers listen and then show up on the scene.

"They don't understand that they are putting themselves in danger," Stradley said, "Because you're coming into an area where we are looking for a guy who has got a gun."

Some of the Facebook world said that's not the only problem with citizens listening to the radio.

Valerie Conrad writes,

 "I think it would help someone trying to get away as well. I don't think it's the best idea."

Delous Allen's comment reads,

"As a retired officer, I think no one should be able to monitor law enforcement radio traffic except the law, fire department and news." 14 of our Facebook fans ‘Liked' that comment.

No matter what, Stradley said people have been listening ever since he's been in the business, and they will continue to do so. Because of that, they will continue to use it to their advantage.

"If you see something, and we've got something going, I encourage you to call and let us know what you see," Stradley said.

Stradley also mentioned if you are caught listening to the radio while committing a felony, you will also be charged with committing a felony with a scanner.

For a time Wednesday, Lawton's law enforcement frequencies were among the most listened-to in the entire country, on one smartphone app.

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