Call it curiosity, concern, or perhaps even boredom, but listening into police, fire, EMS, rail, or aircraft communications can be quite interesting and provide a wealth of information.
Some people carry a portable police scanner. These standalone police scanner units can run from a reasonable $50 all the way up to north of $500.
But with these scanners, you can only access the frequencies local to your area.
If you’re interested in listening in to departments outside of your area, perhaps a better solution is the free online police scanner tools available for your PC, smartphone, and tablet.
It seems that with everyone and their brother carrying a mobile device, laptop, or PC around in their RV, it shouldn’t be too surprising that programmers have made tools to turn your device into a free online police scanner.
After all we can email, take photos, surf the web, and find our GPS location, so why shouldn’t we be able to scan radio communications as well?
The neat part about using a PC, smartphone or tablet as a free online police scanner is that you can monitor the radio traffic of different municipalities, cities, states, and even countries.
3 Different Ways to Get Free Online Police Scanner Access
You can listen to police, fire, and rescue channels using either your laptop, tablet, or iPhone or iPad. Here’s how:
1.) Use a Personal Computer or Laptop
Visit Broadcastify.com from your browser and gain instant access to live audio feeds from hundreds of fire, police, EMS, aircraft and rail communications. All at no cost to you.
2.) Use a Android Phone or Tablet
Download and Install the Police Scanner Radio Scanner app in the Google Play Store.
A highly rated – and free – online police scanner app enables you listen to radio traffic from around the world, including USA, Canada, UK, Germany, Japan, Italy, Chile, Austria with more scanners added all the time.
Some of the top channels include:
- Chicago Police
- LAPD – Code 3/Hot Shots, Air/K9 and Van Nuys/Valley Traffic
- San Diego Police Dispatch
- Phoenix Police
- Denver Police, Fire and EMS
- Waterloo Regional Police
- Newark Police
- Bayamon and San Juan Police
- City of Tulsa and Rural Police, and Fire, Tulsa County Sheriff
3.) Use an Apple Device (iPhone or iPad)
Download and Install the 5-0 Radio Police Scanner Lite app in iTunes.
This police scanner app lets you tap into the largest collection of live police, firefighter, aircraft, railroad, marine, emergency, and HAM radio traffic. You can be the first to get information about news, events, and crime in your area.
You may want to have a reference sheet of the different police scanner codes handy in order to get a feel for what’s going on.
Keep in mind that these audio feeds are not required to be provided to the public.
During certain emergencies, the channel operators have been known to cut access to only those immediately involved. For example, during the Boston Marathon tragedy, Boston area law enforcement audio feeds went offline for awhile.
It’s up to police and officials to determine whether these audio feeds remain open to the public.
Listen to your free online police scanner feeds while you can!
You can read more about the rules behind police scanner availability here.
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