DENVER (AP) — The Denver Police Department has started using encrypted transmissions to block public access to its communications.
The Denver Post reports the department began using digitally encrypted radios Monday in a move criticized by transparency advocates.
The department joins dozens of other agencies across Colorado with encrypted communications.
Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen says the change will protect the personal information of witnesses and 911 callers.
Critics say encryption limits journalists' role as watchdogs keeping residents informed about police activity.
A bill to ban law enforcement from encrypting radios failed to pass the state Legislature last year.
Police officials say they will allow news organizations to purchase encrypted scanners from the city for around $4,000 each and with a license governing their use.
No news organizations have agreed to the terms.