People listen to police scanners for a lot of reasons. They like to be in the know, they like to know where traffic is heaviest on the highway or they’re simply curious. Some people listen in to track loved ones as they go about their jobs or to get word about how to act during emergencies.
For this reason, many police scanner channels are classified as public safety channels. They’re handy tools to use for all parties: law enforcement and emergency personnel and the civilians who listen in. In most states, it’s legal to listen into police channels. If you’re looking to tune in to Toledo, just keep the scanner out of your car.
The first way you can listen to scanners for free is through the Internet. Most radio streaming sites can easily pick up scanner frequencies. You can check out sites like Tunein.com and narrow it down to the area of your choice. This type of search can be pretty hit and miss, because not all radio frequency strengths are equal. The nice thing is that this won’t take up too much of your bandwidth, and you can listen in just like an ordinary radio station.
Some other sites also direct you to the actual feed. Instead of hosting the streams, they aggregate the links and list them for your perusal. Sites that do this include dxzone.com and www.police-scanner.info. A word of caution: these sites can sometimes lead you to broken links. But they’re usually pretty updated.
You can also check out streaming websites dedicated to police scanner feeds like Broadcastify.com. This site lists hundreds of public safety streams from all across the US. It makes it easy to narrow down streams from city to county to town. If you’re looking for a specific police feed, this is your best bet. The streams are also pretty steady, which means you won’t have to deal with annoying details like reloading or streams that die just as it starts to get interesting.
If you want a more mobile type of scanner, check out the apps for your phone OS. These are usually free and give you complete access not just to US feeds, but international ones too. Warning: many countries outside the US ban their citizens from listening in to feeds. It’s also inadvisable to listen to this type of scanner while you’re driving. While it may save you a parking ticket, if caught you face a hefty fine and some possible jail time.
Keep in mind that police streams are not the only public safety channels available. In Toledo, you can also listen in to firefighters, emergency personnel, transportation and even general channels. However, it’s illegal to tune in to cellphone transmissions or classified transmissions. These are monitored on the federal level, so break this law at your own risk. It’s also illegal to interfere or report police business, the way people started tweeting the location of the police during the Boston Marathon Manhunt. This can get you in serious trouble.
Play safe and you should have a great listening experience.