Listen To A Local Police Scanner Online
Ok, so maybe there is a police car in front of your neighbors house. Perhaps the news revealed that there is a fire blazing in your area, or that there is a SWAT standoff nearby. Whatever, the reason, there are times where our curiosity begs us to find out what the heck is going on around us and why. Do not panic, you are not alone. There is nothing wrong with you as this is completely normal. I have had this innate curiosity to know what is going on around me for most of my life, and is why I have listened to police scanners for most of my life. This is my favorite hobby, and I can never get enough of it. My goal is to expose you to this awesome past time and get you as addicted to it as I am. I know with a little time and enough information, I will be successful. 🙂 If you want to know what is possible to monitor on a police scanner, then check out this post http://howtobuyapolicescanner.com/why-buy-a-police-scanner/
“Ok, great, but what is the easiest way I can listen to a police scanner right now?”
Now that you know what you can listen to on a police scanner, you probably want to know how you can begin listening to a police scanner right away. The easiest way to do this is to listen to a local police scanner online. Ah, technology, it is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? As long as your local law enforcement agency does not encrypt their communications, or utilize a radio system that is unable to be monitored by current police scanner technology, you should be good to go. The easiest way to get your hands on an online police scanner is to start with a trusty old google search. Yep, that’s right, navigate to google and type in “your city online police scanner” in the search bar. Simply replace “your city” with the city in which you reside. This should provide you with a good starting point. When I perform this search for my area, what I immediately see is a listing of online police scanners streaming my local law enforcement agencies. If you see some links to broadcastify or similar, this is a good sign. Click on one of the links and check it out.
“The Google search left me empty handed. Nothing appears for my area. Now what?”
Now, if you live in a smaller city, or nothing suitable seems to come up in your search, we may have to get a little more sophisticated. Don’t panic, it will be alright, I’ve got this. Next we can try an awesome resource that I use constantly for scanning related information, discussions, streams, and frequencies. This website is really the go to resource for in depth radio information of all kinds. With this in mind, let’s march forward. If you head over to radioreference.com, at the top on the navigation bar, you will see “Live Audio”. Go ahead and click on that. You will then be presented with a page that shows a map of the U.S. Go ahead and click on your state. Then you will see a page that shows your state and the counties within your state for which there is a police scanner online. If there is something to monitor in your county, it will appear in red. Go ahead and click on your county to see the list of what scanners appear online for your monitoring pleasure. You will be presented with a live feed listing for your county. With any luck, an online feed should appear for your local law enforcement agency. Simply select a player to monitor the feed. The choices include Windows Media Player, Real Player, iTunes, Winamp, Web Player, and Java Web Player. Once you have selected a player, click on the listen button. With any luck, you should be streaming all sorts of public safety audio for your area.
“This was also a swing and a miss. What’s next?”
If you are still having difficulties locating an online police scanner thus far, never underestimate the powers of your trusty smart phone. That is right, in some cases you can listen to a police scanner on your smart phone. You may first have to search the app store on your phone and download an app, but there are several to choose from, and some are free. Three smart phone online police scanner apps that come to mind are 5-0 Radio Police Scanner, iScanner, and PoliceStream. I personally use 5-0 Radio Police Scanner as it is free, and an online police scanner stream for my area is present on that app. However, you can use the app that you feel most comfortable with. Once you app is installed you can allow the GPS capabilities of your phone to look for local online scanner feeds using your current location. If you don’t want to use the GPS in your phone to find a local feed, you can manually search for one in the app using, city, states, zip codes to narrow down your search.
However, please be aware of the legal issues that have arisen in some states with mobile scanners. Some states may treat a smart phone with an online police scanner app installed on it as a mobile police scanner. This is due to states seeing increasing crimes that involved the use of a police scanner app on a smart phone. NBC has reported that the states of New York, Florida, Minnesota, and Kentucky make it illegal to use a mobile police scanner without a license from the Federal Communications Commission or permission from local law enforcement. However, states such as California, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Michigan, Virginia, West Virginia, and Vermont have laws that make mobile use of a police scanner legal as long as it is not used in commission of a crime. Many other states have no laws regarding the mobile use of a police scanner. In most cases, it is completely legal to monitor a police scanner in your home. It is once you start taking the police scanner outside the home and adding mobility is where the issues start. It is always suggested that you research the laws in your area regarding mobile police scanners and the use of a police scanner app on a smart phone before ever installing and using one of these apps.
“No successful online scanner searches, online scanner streams, or smart phone scanner apps are available for my area. What are my options?”
If the techniques above for listening to an online police scanner have all failed, I do have one more suggestion. You should move. Yes, I am just kidding. However, in all seriousness, there is something else I would highly suggest to you if you feel this is a hobby you would really like to get into. I would suggest buying your very own police scanner so that you do not have to rely on an online police scanner stream. Sure, this is a pricier option, but the benefits far outweigh the cost. Keep in mind that the cost is only a one time cost. What you gain is full control. An online police scanner feed has far more cons than pros. The pros are that an online police scanner is free, it is extremely portable, and there are many of them out there online. However, the list of cons are much longer. First, there may not be an online police scanner for your area, so you would have to use your own police scanner to be able to tune in. Second, with an online police scanner you are forced to listen to everything that someone else has programmed in, which may not be what you monitor. I personally do not want to listen to tow trucks, the local dog catcher, and amateur radio operators when I want to monitor the police in my area. Lastly, you get full control with your own police scanner. You can scale the geographic range of what you monitor, as well as the type of agencies you monitor. You can customize your own police scanner as you see fit. Perhaps most importantly, having your own police scanner allows you to lock onto one frequency when things get interesting, whereas an online stream does not allow this. I don’t know about you, but I do not want to be forced to listen to a paramedic listing vital signs of a patient at the other end of the county, when there is a SWAT standoff six blocks away.
Personally, I have my own police scanner. In fact, I have several that I have purchased over the years. Every day that I turn them on and listen to all the interesting things going on around town, I am so happy that I have control over what, when, and where I monitor. I think as you get further into this hobby, you may soon agree that buying your own police scanner is a must, as it was for me over time. However, you will definitely want to make an informed purchase, as there are features, capabilities, and other things to consider first. We will be getting into this subject more, and many others in future posts. Until then, if you have any questions, or if I can be of any help in any way, please let me know by leaving a comment below. As always, Happy Listening!