Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Sheriff’s department moves to encrypted channels, Feb. 1

ROCKFORD — The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office will complete an upgrade to its radio systems Thursday, Feb. 1, moving its communications onto encrypted channels.

The move to the Star Com 21 system aligns the sheriff with Rockford Police in putting radio transmissions behind encrypted channels, meaning the public can no longer listen to radio calls from the department.

“The purpose of Star Com 21 is to enhance Law Enforcement Officer Safety and protect citizens from the possibility of confidential information being transmitted and used for purposes other than intended,” the department said in a statement. “The Star Com 21 system is a network capable of transmitting voice, data and video. This system will be encrypted which will not allow for the monitoring of live calls.”

RPD moved to encrypted channels as part of a similar upgrade in July 2016.

As with Rockford Police dispatches, The Rock River Times will host an updated feed of the sheriff’s dispatch calls on its website, as maintained by the State of Illinois. You can find the county dispatch log by clicking here, or by accessing the menu at the top of our website and looking under the Local News tab. R.

Check out Page 4 of our June 29, 2016, issue where we discussed the problems surrounding encrypted police communications.

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