In 2011, the Associated Press reported on the national encryption trend in a story that was published by, among others, USA Today. In the article, Greenwich is cited as an example of a department that explored encryption, but took a noble stand against it. Greenwich Capt. Mark Kordick is quoted explaining that, “Because we’ve always retained the ability to encrypt traffic on a case-by-case basis when we need to, in a community like Greenwich, I think the transparency we achieve by allowing people to listen to our radio communications certainly outweighs any security concern we have.”
Chiefs, though, have a habit of changing, and policies with them. In introducing the encrypted system two weeks ago, current Greenwich Chief Jim Heavey cited privacy concerns and a vague reference to “criminals . . . using scanners and smartphone applications to monitor the location and activities of police officers.”
That’s absolute bullshit, as GT’s editor points out (more politely). As part of their move towards militarization, the police have gone silent, so that they can’t be observed and, God forbid, be embarrassed.
Not-so-many years ago, for example, there was a vague mention in the paper of an all-cars-response to the Korean whorehouse on the border of Riverside/ Old Greenwich. It struck me as odd that something like 12 cars would respond to a simple robbery in a shady establishment, so I asked a friend with a police scanner what exactly had happened. Turned out a cop had been doing some research under the sheets with one of the prostitutes when he heard a commotion outside the room. Wrapping a towel around his nether regions, he emerged into the hallway brandishing his shield and his gun, whereupon the two kids from the housing complex next door who were robbing patrons knocked him down, took both badge and gun, and fled the premises. According to my friend, a cop losing his gun is pretty bad, but losing his shield is the biggest no-no in policedom. Hence the mad scramble to find the perps and recover the cop’s identification.
To this day, the police deny that this happened and the record of the incident has been sanitized in the Greenwich Time’s files. It still strikes me as an important story: corruption, cover-up, illegal patronization of prostitution – no wonder the police are so happy to stop that kind of exposure now.