The days of being able to listen to the radio traffic of law enforcement agencies in South Dakota's two biggest cities are about to come to an end.

Starting November 13, radio transmissions will be encrypted, which will eliminate the ability to use scanners to monitor over-the-air radio traffic.

In a joint press release, officials from the Sioux Falls Police DepartmentMinnehaha County Sheriff’s Office, Rapid City Police Department, and Pennington County Sheriff’s Office,  announced they have updated their radios and equipment to comply with new federal guidelines.

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Those guidelines were put in place to prevent technological differences from interfering with public safety. This project mandates first responder agencies nationwide to transition to a new, unified radio communications system by 2025.

In the press release, Rapid City Police Chief Don Hedrick explained the need to encrypt the traffic:

'In recent years, our officers have encountered suspects actively committing crimes out in the community that are adjusting their actions based on live scanner traffic available on their smartphones.'

Authorities also say the move ensures that the names, locations, and other personal information of victims and witnesses will not be broadcast.

The agencies will continue to keep the public informed through online crime logs and interactive crime maps, which will provide 24/7 access to updates on law enforcement activity.

Sioux Falls Police Chief Jon Thum says continuing to provide that information is important:

'As our cities and state continue to grow, one common theme for us has always been the importance of community policing. That will not change. We remain committed to connecting with the community face-to-face every day and maintaining the confidence of those we serve while keeping our officers safe.'

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