04/06/07 45 W - + 12 - 12 Scanner Laws?

From a reader, are there any laws that prohibit or impact the use of a scanner to monitor public safety radio traffic? State, local, or otherwise? We don't believe so, but let's throw this to some bigger radio geeks than ourselves for confirmation.

§ 15A‑287 in the General Statutes. I remember some NC law back when I bought my first Regency scanner that said something about it was illegal to monitor police radio transmissions during the commission of a crime, or something like that.
DJ (Email) - 04/07/07 - 00:37

Any laws about showing up to a scene, way out of the way of course, and observing?
Adam - 04/07/07 - 02:27

Conceptually, these things are true:

1. It’s a free country, except when (a.) on private property or (b.) when ordered by a law enforcement officer.

2. Refusing to obey the order of an LEO in the capacity of traffic control is covered here: § 20-114.1. Willful failure to obey law-enforcement or traffic-control officer; firemen as traffic-control officers; appointment, etc., of traffic-control officers.

3. Refusing to obey the order of an LEO, period, is also a violation in some states. Not sure about NC, and Google isn’t turning anything up.

4. Observing and taking pictures can increase the likelihood of intervention by LEOs. This is typically a function of distance. The closer you are, the more likely the intervention.

5. Observing during the “heat of battle” can also increase the likelihood of intervention. Again, it’s a function of distance.

6. Stay back and obey any directions and you should be fine.
Legeros - 04/07/07 - 06:09

North Carolina has no restrictions on Scanner use…for a list of the states who do have restrictions visit this site:
Marshall Sherard CFP[714] (Email) (Web Site) - 04/07/07 - 08:23

In NC it is against the law to refuse the order of a LEO. See statute regarding “Resist, Delay and Obstruct”.
Silver - 04/07/07 - 16:42

The law I referenced above is GS 15A-287. It says you can monitor police, fire, and other stuff. There is also stuff about intercepting info and stuff.
DJ (Email) - 04/07/07 - 21:52

[ Reference to a specific local incident removed. But the poster makes a good point. If it is against the law to refuse the order of an LEO, is it within the law for an LEO to compel compliance with an order? Such as, say, forcibly moving someone who refuses to move. Presumably, just because the first statement is true, the converse of that statement is not necessarily also true. ]
Legeros - 04/08/07 - 08:58

Reference to the specific incident noted, I have no idea what anyone is talking about; however, it is within the scope of law enforcement to “detain” someone who is not complying with their orders… in effect, detaining the person places them in their custody and they can move the person wherever they want (most times, to jail).

Anyway, I just think that a LEO saying, “Do this or else…” would be enough to make me move. The badge and the gun (but I fear the pepper spray more) are enough justification to move. If we ask them to move for us, they would, so it’s a matter of professional courtesy in the end.
CJS (Email) - 04/08/07 - 09:07

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