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Letter to the Editor: Scanner encryption raises concerns

Editor:

Although, I am not a scanner listener, I am concerned and disturbed by Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron and Front Royal Chief of Police Kahle Magalis’ decision to encrypt all local police communications, citing safety as the primary reason.

Chief Magalis states that they are all about transparency. Does he know the meaning of the word? If so, why would he and the sheriff not educate themselves and their deputies/officers in using their abilities to only encrypt the more serious issues, such as drug enforcement and SWAT?

I am a life-long resident here and I don’t ever recall any safety issues for deputies/officers due to citizens hearing their communications. The criminal may at times have an advantage by listening but I think there are far more benefits to keeping law enforcement and emergency communications open to citizens.

Strasburg proved that their open communications help their law enforcement and citizens to work together, which also builds a stronger community. They just caught the wanted fugitive that Warren County let out on bond for 2 1/2 years while awaiting a trial – good job, Strasburg!

I forsee that this encryption put on the citizens of Warren County will increase mistrust of law enforcement and give opportunities for corruption and an easy-out to hide errors.   It poses a threat of creating a public safety nightmare, as real time information is crucial in saving lives.

I ask the Warren County Board of Supervisors and the Front Royal Town Council to put this matter on your next agenda for discussion and to choose what’s best for the Warren CountyFront Royal Community.

Leslie Mathews, Bentonville

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