Local Legislator’s Bill Would Stiffen Penalty for Scanner-Monitoring Criminals

Rep. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, is pushing a bill aimed at punishing criminals who used police scanners to aid in their nefarious acts.

House Bill 2595 would create an aggravating factor — and thus a judge could go beyond the standard sentencing range — for folks who listened to police radio scanners “as a means to facilitate a crime.”

“This bill sends a clear message to criminals. It says that using the police scanner as a way to help you commit your crime will not be tolerated,” Rolfes said. “These communications are intended for public safety and notification, not to serve as a tool to be exploited for criminal activity.”

Rolfes’ bill passed the house unanimously Friday and now moves to the Senate for a vote.

6 thoughts on “Local Legislator’s Bill Would Stiffen Penalty for Scanner-Monitoring Criminals

  1. This bill is a joke. Next there will be a bill to send a “clear message” to criminals who use lookouts to make sure police aren’t coming. I mean, really, listening to police scanners will be an “aggravating factor?”

  2. I wonder if those of us who are scanner enthusiasts will be targeted? Say you were caught speeding and have a scanner in your vehicle, will they evoke this new law to increase your fine? How do you prove a person was using a scanner? Will this be a case of if you have one in your possession you are assumed to be guilty and this will be used against you?

    The interesting part is go to the Legislative web site and read the bill that changes multiple RCW’s. It is very interesting to see what can contribute to a “exceptional sentence” in the eyes of our legislature. To bad the newspaper or blogs only pull out a small part of the whole story. I guess that is today’s definition of great journalism.
    Roger Gay
    South Kitsap

  3. This legislation is patently illogical. On the one hand we’d have laws making it illegal for the county to encrypt the police transmissions because of the purported public right to the information, and on the other we’d have another law making it illegal to listen in if you happen to be breaking the law.
    Ridiculous! If they want to improve things, why not make it state law that all public safety communications must be properly encrypted so the criminals can’t listen in? If the public (read: media) wants the traffic, they can drag their butts down to the courthouse and submit a freedom of information act request and listen to the recordings.

  4. 35 years ago it was; “Smokey in the grass taking pictures”, “There’s a bear in the air”, County Mounty doin’ a flip-flop on highway 3″ and “keep the pedal to the metal”. Was that illegal? Only for those that got caught by the FCC cops for a license infraction. Those were fun times on CB radios.
    That’s a big 10-4 rubber ducky.

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