Why Buy A Police Scanner?

Listening to police scanners is a fun and, often, an addictive hobby. I have been listening to police scanners for over 24 years, and I never tire of it. There is countless communications activity going on around us all the time. It can be fun and exciting to monitor some of this activity. A police scanner allows us to satisfy that natural curiosity many of us have to know what is going on around us at any given moment. But why specifically would you want to buy a police scanner in the first place? There are many reasons. Some of the reasons are for safety, some are to receive essential and timely information in an emergency, and some are for just plain fun and entertainment. Allow me to elaborate on this.


“Monitoring your neighborhood”


Just imagine you are at home and you look out your window and see a police car speed down the street and park in front of your neighbor’s house. Then on another day you spot a fire truck and paramedic barreling down the street with the lights flashing and siren wailing. It can be a thrill to be able to find out why that police car responded in the first place, and what emergency prompted the fire truck and paramedic. The best part is that in many cases, you can monitor these communications in the comfort of your own home, while steering clear of harms way.

A police scanner can be an exciting window into the daily lives of law enforcement officers, emergency personnel, government officials, military personnel, air traffic control centers, railroads, utilities, maritime activity, and so much more. The best part is that much of this communication can be monitored with a scanner.


“Get the news and much more before everyone else does”


Police scanners are at the heart of how local media officials complete their jobs and report on breaking news events. The media often carry scanners in their news vans and listen at the station to locate incidents worthy of reporting. A police scanner allows the media to report on crimes, accidents, fires, power outages, local weather related issues, and major disasters. In fact, much of the radio communication traffic and events that are monitored on a police scanner never make the evening news. There is simply not enough airtime to report on every incident that occurs in a given day. Think of how much activity in your community that can be monitored on a police scanner that you are missing out on! What is more, it is also exciting to be in the know of major incidents before most people hear about them on the news. There are many times when the news media leaves out some incident detail due to airtime constraints. Having a police scanner lets you get more of the full story.


“Keep you and your family safe”


A police scanner can also be used to keep you safe during natural disasters such as fires, earthquakes, tornados, floods, severe storms, and more. For example, I live in Southern California. In the past, we have had several iterations of devastating wild fires over the past decade. My police scanner was key in my knowing which areas were in the most danger at any given moment, often times before the news media had the chance to report on it. The scanner was instrumental in keeping my family safe as I was often one of the first persons to know when a fire was getting dangerously close to my location, and when we needed to be concerned with preparing for a possible evacuation.

Additionally, we have all been through storms and power outages. A hand-held police scanner is a helpful tool for knowing when the utility crews are working on the outage, and when they will likely restore power to your area. Just make sure to keep plenty of fresh batteries around!


“Forget a movie or a sitcom… A scanner can be just as entertaining”


I have had the pleasure of taking my scanner to local military air shows in which the Blue Angels, the Thunderbirds, and other military demonstration teams have performed over the years. It is quite a sight to see these aircraft demonstrating their maneuvers up close. However, it is a whole different experience to be listening to the military pilots communicating about coordinating these exercises with each other, while also watching them demonstrate the maneuvers.

If you are a NASCAR fan, there are scanners designed specifically for racing events. You can enter the frequencies of the specific race cars in a particular race and listen to their communications as they zip around the track. With a scanner you can listen to a particular race car, or scan through the communications of all the cars.

A police scanner with the right frequency capabilities can be a fun device to have if you live near a municipal or commercial airport. I previously lived approximately one mile away from a municipal airport. Needless to say, I saw many different private aircraft fly over my house. I spent many of hours listening to the aircraft control centers, control towers, and ground crews that help to safely navigate aircraft to their destination.

If you live near a large body of water, a scanner can be a great thing to have here as well. I have lived near the ocean here in Southern California. This lends itself to interesting boat, cruise ship, military ship, Coast Guard, and maritime communications at times. Even if you live near a large lake or river, a police scanner tuned to the maritime bands can sometimes reveal interesting communications activity.

If you are interested in trains and live near an area with abundant rail activity, a police scanner is a great tool to monitor trains, switching activity, trolleys, and the daily communications activities occurring during the transport of goods and people across the country.

This discussion only scratches the surface of what can be received using a scanner. I hope you have enjoyed this post and found the topic interesting. I love listening to police scanners and listen daily. If you have any questions or if I can help in any way just let me know by leaving a comment. Happy listening!

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