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Online scanner access? 10-4.Posted Thursday, May 6, 2010, at 2:41 PM
I imagine we'd be surprised at the number of people with police scanners across Bedford County.
Most are probably programmed to pick up just Shelbyville and Bedford County law enforcement agencies or, maybe, a nearby city or county of interest.
The scanner in my car when set to randomly scan can pick up as far north as Interstate 40 and as far south as the Huntsville area.
But times occur when the news junkie in me wants to hear what's going on nearby, or hundreds or thousands of miles away, if some sort of natural or civil disaster is happening.
That's where the Radio Reference online scanner feed comes in.
Here you'll find nearly 1,800 free-to-listen scanner feeds from all 50 states and several foreign countries -- but not Shelbyville/Bedford County.
I've been told that starting a feed is as simple as connecting a scanner to an always-on computer. I also discovered that a local feed was up for a short time before a Com Center official ordered it taken down.
It needs to be brought back. Hearing such a feed would help locals who aren't near, or don't have, a scanner.
And no one can say that "the bad guys don't need to hear it" because anyone can easily buy and program a scanner, plus scrambled transmissions would still be scrambled on a feed.
This really came to mind last Saturday when the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Rutherford County. Several of us were in the T-G newsroom working on Sunday's paper. The office scanners can't receive Rutherford County transmissions and, besides, storms were headed for us as well and we needed to hear Bedford County.
So I got Radio Reference's Rutherford County scanner feed on my computer and listened as deputies reported seeing "rotation" near Eagleville -- too close to comfort for northern Bedford County residents -- and reported calm winds under where one storm was being reported.
I was also listening to Hilo, Hawaii police traffic the Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago when the tsunami was expected.
Important information -- and just two situations where online scanner availability can help.
(In case anyone doesn't recognize it, "10-4" in the headline refers to the dispatch code for "affirmative.")
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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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