A police scanner can be a very useful tool to have around. Not only is it a valuable asset during emergencies, but it can be useful for everyday things. Public safety channels broadcast everything from weather updates to gossip. For the curious, it can be a funny little hobby. For others, it can be a way to keep in touch (figuratively) with loved ones who work in law enforcement or emergency services. It can be an essential link to a spouse, child or friend.
It’s easy to listen to police scanners in Tampa for free. You don’t have to pay for software or buy a ham radio to set up in garage. All you need is access to the Internet and some geographic knowledge. Most feeds are separated by jurisdiction (for example, a county Sheriff’s department would be on a different band than the city police). There are usually “unified” channels that are used for state-wide issues, such as incoming storms, blizzards or the like. A little experimentation can help you find them.
You can start by checking out Broadcastify.com, a website dedicated to public safety channels. This website only hosts radio feeds for firefighters and police officers. You won’t find your favorite radio station here. It’s a user-friendly site that feels natural to use. It lets you choose from a variety of players, so you don’t have to download any pre-existing software before you can listen in. Simply search for the county or area of Tampa you want to listen to.
If you want something more cerebral and a chance to interact with like minded people who love ham radio and police scanners, you can check out sites like Master Scanner and Radio Reference. These are sites that provide exact frequencies for specific jurisdictions. Not only that, they have a lot of user support to help you troubleshoot any scanners you own.
You can also turn your mobile phone into a police scanner by downloading applications that can help you access the bands. Police Scanner, 5-0 Police and other applications found in both the Apple and Google Play store are nifty free programs that allow you to access not just US police scanners, but international ones too. Just keep in mind that many states frown upon using scanners (even if it’s just a souped-up phone) in vehicles.
Theoretically, you can also jury rig any radio applications in your phone to intercept police bands, but the FCC may have something to say about that too.
So for the curious, the obsessed and the naturally inclined, here are just a few ways to listen in to what’s going on in your neighborhood, without ever leaving your house! Be sure to check your state laws before downloading or listening into software. While most states legally allow private citizens to listen in without any trouble, others ask you to apply for permits. In Florida, any police scanner violations are considered a misdemeanor offense.
Use police radio safely and responsibly shouldn’t lead you to any trouble. Happy listening!