CARMA: In God We Trust, All Others We Monitor

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Several months ago, two journalism students from Northwestern University came to a CARMA meeting at Stevens Restaurant in Woodridge, and interviewed several participants at the meeting. CARMA (Chicago Area Radio Monitoring Association) is the largest scanner club in the USA. The club, with over 1700 members, support all facets of public safety and promotes responsible radio monitoring.

MMJ News Story: CARMA from Breanna (Lebsack) Molloy on Vimeo.

Chicago is home to the largest police scanner club in the country, but with encryption becoming more and more common, they worry that their scanning days may be coming to a close. Is it just the end of a passé hobby — or does the public have a right to know?

A map on the video shows where police radio encryption (or proprietary secure radio) has been activated. A sample in the map include Arlington Heights, Aurora, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Joliet, Mount Prospect, Naperville, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, and Schaumburg. The map misses Elgin and a few others. While some police departments nationwide have limited their encryption to tactical channels, most police departments in Illinois have encrypted all of their channels.

Also in some area of the United State where police radio encryption has been activated, the media and citizens have protested. Some police departments have responded with improved Twitter or Facebook notifications. In the Chicago area, residents have been silent, and major news media companies have reported very little on the encryption issue.

The motto for CARMA is “In God We Trust, All Others We Monitor.”

IN GOD WE TRUST; ALL OTHERS WE MONITOR is also the motto of the Technical Applications Center, USAF. The Technical Applications Center keeps an eye on signatories to nuclear treaties, and monitors the world for nuclear weapons detonations. The center is always on alert, and accomplishes its mission using satellites, seismic gear, and hydroaccoustics.

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