Monday, March 2, 2015

Why it is critical

I had a speaking engagement last week at the Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Group. My topic was discussing the two public safety projects that would be funded by a three year quarter cent sales tax, a proposition that will appear on the ballot April 7 at the City's primary election.

In the process of explaining why the City's aging public safety radio system is so important, I had a sudden epiphany (is there another kind of epiphany?): one of the best ways to understand this is simply to listen. As if on cue, Chamber of Commerce staff member Kyle Fischer pulled out his smartphone and launched his scanner app.

His app was tuned to the official feed published by the City, which consists of the primary police dispatch talk groups, and the fire & rescue tactical talk groups. It's particularly interesting to listen to during the most busy periods of the day, and you get a real feel from doing so about the events that are breaking in the City, and how police officers, firefighters, and dispatchers depend on this system.

The feed is in stereo: police on the left, fire & rescue on the right. I like to use the balance control on my car stereo to emphasize fire & rescue over police a bit, since I've already spent 40 years listening to police radio traffic. I won't entirely mute police, just notch it down to a lower volume--or the reverse if something in catching my interest. There are tons of smartphone apps out there for Internet-published radio feeds (I use 5-0 Radio Pro), or you can listen to it on the web from your desktop or laptop, at .


Anonymous said...

I usually wake up at 5:00 AM to KFAB and leave it on until 7:15 AM. Then I put on the coffee and sit down to the computer while reading E-Mail etc. I use RadioRage to scan the LPD & LFR broadcasts. I have listened in to the scanners in some of the large cities and it is enlightening to compare the difference in Police calls of our city vs a Chicago broadcast. Calling 911 to report a barking dog in NYC or Chicago would probably result in charges against the caller. We are blessed to live in Lincoln.

Gun Nut

Excel_Geek said...

What is that raw feed address, Director?

Tom Casady said...


It is published through, formerly

Anonymous said...

Does the city run this feed or is it ran by a private citizen in Lincoln using a scanner? If it is the private citizen then he/needs to be thanked. I try to run a feed in the spring for the storm spotters and it is a lot of work to manage. Also there can be a big expense (scanner, PC, Internet fees, etc.). If it is the city then I think that is great we have the foresight to have this service.

Tom Casady said...


This is the official feed, published by the City. There is a private party who also publishes a web feed at the moment, but it is law enforcement only, and not stereo.

Broadcastify designates official feeds published by agencies with a special emblem on their website.

Clean said...

Good grief, Tom! I didn't realize what it would be like to listen to the police radio after all these years. There are a lot of things I miss (and some that I don't), but nothing has brought back the feeling of real police work like listening to the radio traffic.

Tom Casady said...


Not many would believe it, but it hasn't changed all that much in 50 years, either, would you say?