Author Topic: Indiana Scanner Law  (Read 10272 times)

AMTK24

  • Superintendent
  • *****
  • Posts: 796
Indiana Scanner Law
« on: April 21, 2010, 09:39:36 PM »
Before reading this, I would like to point out to everyone the "capable of sending or receiving signals transmitted on frequencies assigned by the Federal Communications Commission for police emergency purposes" part.  Actual railroad radios and scanners NOT capable of the newer UHF and digital trunking frequencies are exempt from this law... so yes I do keep a railroad radio and scanner in my truck with an external antenna, on top in plain view.  And yes you can be arrested for having one that is defined as a "police radio" seen below.  "Mobile" scanning also includes walking with one.  Just don't be caught with a new digital trunking scanner.

Here are some Indianapolis area emergency frequencies so you can double-check your capabilities.  Also, most Indianapolis police channels are in digital hexadecimal format, rather than a regular analog number frequency.  http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?ctid=741  http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=5737

A link to the law listed below.  http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/title35/ar44/ch3.html

IC 35-44-3-12
Unlawful use of a police radio; exemptions; "police radio" defined
     Sec. 12. (a) A person who knowingly or intentionally:
        (1) possesses a police radio;
        (2) transmits over a frequency assigned for police emergency purposes; or
        (3) possesses or uses a police radio:
            (A) while committing a crime;
            (B) to further the commission of a crime; or
            (C) to avoid detection by a law enforcement agency;
commits unlawful use of a police radio, a Class B misdemeanor.
    (b) Subsection (a)(1) and (a)(2) do not apply to:
        (1) a governmental entity;
        (2) a regularly employed law enforcement officer;
        (3) a common carrier of persons for hire whose vehicles are used in emergency service;
        (4) a public service or utility company whose vehicles are used in emergency service;
        (5) a person who has written permission from the chief executive officer of a law enforcement agency to possess a police radio;
        (6) a person who holds an amateur radio license issued by the Federal Communications Commission if the person is not transmitting over a frequency assigned for police emergency purposes;
        (7) a person who uses a police radio only in the person's dwelling or place of business;
        (8) a person:
            (A) who is regularly engaged in newsgathering activities;
            (B) who is employed by a newspaper qualified to receive legal advertisements under IC 5-3-1, a wire service, or a licensed commercial or public radio or television station; and
            (C) whose name is furnished by his employer to the chief executive officer of a law enforcement agency in the county
in which the employer's principal office is located;
        (9) a person engaged in the business of manufacturing or selling police radios; or
        (10) a person who possesses or uses a police radio during the normal course of the person's lawful business.
    (c) As used in this section, "police radio" means a radio that is capable of sending or receiving signals transmitted on frequencies assigned by the Federal Communications Commission for police emergency purposes and that:
        (1) can be installed, maintained, or operated in a vehicle; or
        (2) can be operated while it is being carried by an individual.
The term does not include a radio designed for use only in a dwelling.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2010, 11:27:22 PM by indrr »

INprinter

  • Willing to railfan for deep fried pickles!
  • Global Moderator
  • Mogul
  • *****
  • Posts: 2381
  • Licensed Ham Radio Operator - K9SVL
Re: Indiana Scanner Law
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2010, 08:09:12 PM »
I think (b)(8)(A) "who is regularly engaged in newsgathering activities" certainly applies to all of us here on the Bullsession. Now, if we only worked for the Bullsession and our employer would vouch for us in writing to the chief executive officer of the local law enforcement agency we would be covered. Being realistic though, I think (b)(6) "a person who holds an amateur radio license issued by the Federal Communications Commission if the person is not transmitting over a frequency assigned for police emergency purposes" is our best shot for carrying and using a mobile scanner that will receive railroad traffic.

Inprinter
« Last Edit: April 22, 2010, 09:38:14 PM by indrr »
Shelbyville-1st RR in IN: 7/4/1834. 1st RR abandoned in IN: K&S RR 1854, 26 miles. Making IN RR history. Without photons photography would be a black art. You can never get cornered in the Roundhouse.

AMTK24

  • Superintendent
  • *****
  • Posts: 796
Re: Indiana Scanner Law
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2010, 09:19:49 PM »
I think (b)(8)(A) "who is regularly engaged in newsgathering activities" certainly applies to all of us here on the Bullsession. Now, if we only worked for the Bullsession and our employer would vouch for us in writing to the chief executive officer of the local law enforcement agency we would be covered. Being realistic though, I think (b)(6) "a person who holds an amateur radio license issued by the Federal Communications Commission if the person is not transmitting over a frequency assigned for police emergency purposes" is our best shot for carrying and using a mobile scanner that will receive railroad traffic.

Inprinter
I like it.  Nate, give us all employee numbers, contact each county's police department for permission, and we are all set.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2010, 10:31:05 PM by AMTK24 »

central1751

  • Dispatcher
  • *****
  • Posts: 369
  • 6.6 miles from destiny. April 30th 1900
Re: Indiana Scanner Law
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2010, 09:42:33 PM »
One of the original reasons I got my ham radio license.  But then I found out about how fun that hobby was as well as railfanning!   I have a mobile trunk tracking scanner in my truck as well as at home. I have an early model trunking handheld, but its kind of out of date and only has nascar freqs for the Brickyard and my RR freqs in it.  Be safe out there!    Mike

indrr

  • Administrator
  • Tycoon
  • *****
  • Posts: 5580
  • indrr admin
Re: Indiana Scanner Law
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2010, 09:57:45 PM »
I like it.  Nate, give us all employee numbers, contact each county's police department for permission, and we are all set.
I have honestly thought about it before.  Unfortunately, the law is that you are newsgathering, employed by a newspaper or public (ie licensed) radio/tv station, and a statement be sent a police chief.  Since this isn't a qualified newspaper or radio/tv station, I can't make it work.  

Using point 10, which provides allowace for use of a radio "in the course of the person's lawful business", could work using that logic though.  Actually, it could work for anyone who can construe their railfanning as a business.  Sell a video or a couple photos.  Have a business card.  Act like you're not doing something illegal, since it's not.

Just knowing the law should be enough to calm down any questioning police officer, or at least to get out of a ticket in court.
Nathan Bilger
-----------------
Board Admin, Webmaster
http://www.indianarailroads.org.

Appalling hauling

  • President
  • *****
  • Posts: 1727
Re: Indiana Scanner Law
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2010, 07:03:38 AM »
The one way most folks around here are permitted to carry 2-way radios is by working as reserve officers or volunteer firefighters.Since we have a number of meth labs that go up in smoke,the volunteer firefighters are equipped with 2-way radios because of the first responder status.Given the dangers of meth labs,its a priority if the volunteer FD members arrive & determine the situation,they go directly to law enforcement frequencies & advise officers who are responding & others who need to respond ASAP.

As for railfans carrying scanners,Indiana is blessed with metro departments on trunked 800mhz digital systems that most scanners cannot receive the signals.But again,its the rural areas where you're more likely to run into trouble.Many departments still havent the budget to go exclusively 800 & even if they did,there are areas where 800 just doesn't work.Your cell phone is good way determining that.Most of the train shots are taken in rural areas & if you're not known,someone is going to call the local police to check up on you.
I understand it seems like harassment but farmers & their families are on the front line when it comes to responding to meth cookers,so if they call a unit or 2 will be responding.And I wish I could say 9 times out of 10 its just a railfan shooting photos & Im sure those tending the properties & the police would agree.Unfortunately,skilletheads are out doing one of 3 things-Hijacking anhydrous ammonia,cooking the product,or disposing of the items used in the manufacture.I have yet to hear of skilletskulls doing all 3 at the same time given how jumpy they are,but then again,cooking meth is stupid to begin with so there you have it.
Okay-to the drug enforcement officers out there who were required to cook meth as part of their training,if you screwed up your lab project,I dont think it reflects on your character.However,saying your dog ATE your homework assignment isnt cool.
Its getting to be a situation of politics to railfan with a scanner.Your best bet,get to know the local law enforcement.That gets you closer to a letter of approval by the agency whose jurisdiction you plan to shoot photos in.
The police & farmers would rather folks be railfanning than what they fear,so it helps to be friendly & outgoing.
Dont put anything here that may upset a "mod".

Santini

  • Dispatcher
  • *****
  • Posts: 473
Re: Indiana Scanner Law
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2010, 06:50:25 AM »
As Central 1751 pointed out and the law states, a Ham license is a great option.  Another would be using a 2-meter ham transceiver.  I bought an ICOM V82 portable (about $150 if you buy a cloning cable) for that very purpose and it pulls in signals that won't even bust the squelch on my GRE-400 with Railcom antenna. Keeping a copy of the manual with the frequency limits would also prove that it is not being used for police or emergency scanning. One possible glitch to this plan might be railroad police agencies who could use rail frequencies as well as standard public service frequencies.  Would they be considered "private" security or municipal public service? The Ham ticket is the safest option, but you can still legally use a 2-meter as a receiver as long as you don't transmit.
"It's not my fault I was drawn at 28 dpi!"

central1751

  • Dispatcher
  • *****
  • Posts: 369
  • 6.6 miles from destiny. April 30th 1900
Re: Indiana Scanner Law
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2010, 04:33:18 PM »
Also keep in mind that there are actual 2m frequencies used by Ham radio railfans to talk to each other while railfanning,  you dont have the trash talk and profanity of CB radio and the tests are not hard by any means and no Morse code requirement anymore.  I have been places that my cell phone cannot get service, but with my little directory of the all the freqs in the USA/Canada, its just a matter of tuning the radio to the right freq and calling for assistance or directions.  Its a small price to pay to gain the ablity to carry a scanner with ANY freqs programed and they cannot say a thing about it.  When my friends and I railfan and a cop starts to say something about my scanner, I just produce my FCC issues license and thats the end of that discussion, period.  Im not rude or inconsiderate about it, just matter of fact.  That being said, I know most of the LE folks where I railfan and they just wave as they pass by.  A responsible railfan/ham radio owner is an assest to them.  Most hams are known to assist LE during emergencies by assisting with communication, weather spotting ect.  So you can some respect that you are not Billy Joe Bob the wacky rail fan that climbs signals, tresspasses and otherwise endangers himself and others.  Of coarse having the license doesnt exempt you from acting like a respectable adult in all aspects to our hobby.  You can also get a specal license plate with your ham call sign for your car, after I added that to my truck when I first got my license, that ended the scanner question even coming up.  They already knew I had the necessary license to carry the scanner/radio.  Stay safe out there everybody!    Mike T   N9XLZ   

eerbaugh

  • Brakeman
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • I'm a Hoosier railfan!
Re: Indiana Scanner Law
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2010, 02:06:29 PM »
Ok, my first impression is that  (1) possesses a police radio; is overly broad because now there is an iphone app that allows you to access police freqs. So anyone with an iphone now can be in violation of this law. I have no problem with the law if they just removed that portion of it. There needs to be some criminality to the actions and listening to a scanner in your car is not criminal other than this statute making it so. But if you are doing it to avoid police then that should be criminal.

Rob

  • Global Moderator
  • Superintendent
  • *****
  • Posts: 925
Re: Indiana Scanner Law
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2010, 05:54:43 PM »
Ironically if i were able to monitor police/fire/ambulance communications, I would only want to know where the troubles are along my route. If I heard there was a big wreck at US 30 and SR 19, I would avoid that area and find a detour. Seeing a wreck is not worth the delay and possible delays to emergency vehicles, of course a large amount of people would be curious and head to check it out.
Rob

KD9GLW

  • Dispatcher
  • *****
  • Posts: 250
  • I live in a box with a ham radio and camera
Re: Indiana Scanner Law
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2013, 11:15:19 AM »
Before reading this, I would like to point out to everyone the "capable of sending or receiving signals transmitted on frequencies assigned by the Federal Communications Commission for police emergency purposes" part.  Actual railroad radios and scanners NOT capable of the newer UHF and digital trunking frequencies are exempt from this law... so yes I do keep a railroad radio and scanner in my truck with an external antenna, on top in plain view.  And yes you can be arrested for having one that is defined as a "police radio" seen below.  "Mobile" scanning also includes walking with one.  Just don't be caught with a new digital trunking scanner.

Here are some Indianapolis area emergency frequencies so you can double-check your capabilities.  Also, most Indianapolis police channels are in digital hexadecimal format, rather than a regular analog number frequency.  http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?ctid=741  http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=5737

A link to the law listed below.  http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/title35/ar44/ch3.html

IC 35-44-3-12
Unlawful use of a police radio; exemptions; "police radio" defined
     Sec. 12. (a) A person who knowingly or intentionally:
        (1) possesses a police radio;
        (2) transmits over a frequency assigned for police emergency purposes; or
        (3) possesses or uses a police radio:
            (A) while committing a crime;
            (B) to further the commission of a crime; or
            (C) to avoid detection by a law enforcement agency;
commits unlawful use of a police radio, a Class B misdemeanor.
    (b) Subsection (a)(1) and (a)(2) do not apply to:
        (1) a governmental entity;
        (2) a regularly employed law enforcement officer;
        (3) a common carrier of persons for hire whose vehicles are used in emergency service;
        (4) a public service or utility company whose vehicles are used in emergency service;
        (5) a person who has written permission from the chief executive officer of a law enforcement agency to possess a police radio;
        (6) a person who holds an amateur radio license issued by the Federal Communications Commission if the person is not transmitting over a frequency assigned for police emergency purposes;
        (7) a person who uses a police radio only in the person's dwelling or place of business;
        (8) a person:
            (A) who is regularly engaged in newsgathering activities;
            (B) who is employed by a newspaper qualified to receive legal advertisements under IC 5-3-1, a wire service, or a licensed commercial or public radio or television station; and
            (C) whose name is furnished by his employer to the chief executive officer of a law enforcement agency in the county
in which the employer's principal office is located;
        (9) a person engaged in the business of manufacturing or selling police radios; or
        (10) a person who possesses or uses a police radio during the normal course of the person's lawful business.
    (c) As used in this section, "police radio" means a radio that is capable of sending or receiving signals transmitted on frequencies assigned by the Federal Communications Commission for police emergency purposes and that:
        (1) can be installed, maintained, or operated in a vehicle; or
        (2) can be operated while it is being carried by an individual.
The term does not include a radio designed for use only in a dwelling.

I still walk around with my Pro 94 and BC95XLT in plain sight of a Hammond and Whiting Cops and they don't say crap to me and if they decide to all I have programmed in it are the AAR freqs and ATCS/EOT freqs.Hell I dont have any idea how to program Hammond's trunked system anyway.Piece of cake there  :P

Chicago Street runnin

scraphauler

  • Tycoon
  • ******
  • Posts: 5148
  • Oberfeldwebel Hans Scraphauler
Re: Indiana Scanner Law
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2013, 01:48:38 PM »
(c) As used in this section, "police radio" means a radio that is capable of sending or receiving signals transmitted on frequencies assigned by the Federal Communications Commission for police emergency purposes and that:
        (1) can be installed, maintained, or operated in a vehicle; or
        (2) can be operated while it is being carried by an individual.

Hmmm, guess my smart phone, ANY smart phone for that matter, is illegal in the State of Indiana, as you can simply down load an app and use your phone as a scanner.  Time for a raid on every cell phone store, mall kiosk, convenience, store, etc. for cell contraband  :D 

I often listen to Cincinnati Fire and/or PD on my Droid to drown out the awful while noise pumped in.  Good to know that I and everyone else with a smart phone capable of downloading apps is in technical violated of state law when I cross back into Hoosierland on my way home.    Talk about a law that has failed to keep up with technology......
The opinions, views, and incoherent ramblings presented here do not necessarily represent the view point of any company I work for or own,  any logical thinking being, or even me.

RailfanJ-Ro22

  • Mogul
  • *****
  • Posts: 2533
Re: Indiana Scanner Law
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2013, 01:56:48 PM »
My scanner's ancient (like 20 years old) so I don't think it applies. ;D

I even walked up to an officer the other day to ask him about it and he said it was too old to be considered illegal.
Jeremy Rose - Check out my railroad videos at www.youtube.com/railfantube

doublestacks

  • Mogul
  • *****
  • Posts: 2080
Re: Indiana Scanner Law
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2013, 05:18:13 PM »
about 3 years ago i was running my scanner for avon one night. I had been waiting on this train to get lined for departure from the fuel pad. I had decided to give up when i started to leave the area and the call came through. I was trying to beat it to dan jones or 267. I got busted doing 75 in a 45 just before midnight by an Avon Cop, he must have had a laser because my bird dog didnt go off. Anyway long story short, the cop checked my handheld scanner after being totally honest about chasing a train and admitting to scanning railroad frequency. He let me go with a warning and gave me my scanner back. Its good thing this topic got mentioned.
Steel is real and it feels no pain.

Sharky1

  • Dispatcher
  • *****
  • Posts: 428
Re: Indiana Scanner Law
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2013, 09:21:59 PM »
I always wondered about this law. Regency Radio in Lawrence (right near 465 & Pendelton Pike) was very big in scanner radio in the 1970's  The other big maker was Bear Cat (which was in Cumberland, IN). Regency announced the first handheld with great fanfare and I think it back-fired on them because as soon as they did someone had run a bill through the Indiana government to try and ban the things. It did not seem to matter that they were hurting a product made in Indiana.

Regency sold it's "Monitorradio" and I'm guessing its CB line out to Midland in the 1980s. It then moved to Florida and continued with transmitter/receiver radio under the name RELM where they continue to present day.

Meanwhile no one else paid that much attention which leaves Indiana, the 'birth place' of the portable scanner as about the only place with these kind of nasty restrictions in the US. Maybe that's why Regency is not around anymore.

So how does most of the rest of the US get along without these type of laws, I wonder?
There a fine line between a 'hobby' and a 'mental illness'.

SemperVaporo

  • Dispatcher
  • *****
  • Posts: 362
Re: Indiana Scanner Law
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2013, 09:42:08 PM »
I always wondered about this law. Regency Radio in Lawrence (right near 465 & Pendelton Pike) was very big in scanner radio in the 1970's  The other big maker was Bear Cat (which was in Cumberland, IN). Regency announced the first handheld with great fanfare and I think it back-fired on them because as soon as they did someone had run a bill through the Indiana government to try and ban the things. It did not seem to matter that they were hurting a product made in Indiana.

Regency sold it's "Monitorradio" and I'm guessing its CB line out to Midland in the 1980s. It then moved to Florida and continued with transmitter/receiver radio under the name RELM where they continue to present day.

Meanwhile no one else paid that much attention which leaves Indiana, the 'birth place' of the portable scanner as about the only place with these kind of nasty restrictions in the US. Maybe that's why Regency is not around anymore.

So how does most of the rest of the US get along without these type of laws, I wonder?


Try these web sites for more info on your questions...

A rather long posting about Indiana scanner law on the "RadioReference" forum  (11 pages of comments, mostly rather old now):

http://forums.radioreference.com/indiana-radio-discussion-forum/29849-indiana-scanner-law-information.html

A comment about smart-phone apps:

http://www.afn.org/~afn09444/scanlaws/index.html

Also, scroll to the "index" at the bottom of the page and check the links under "3. The Laws"


Just a 'heads-up"... just because your scanner is "old" (or possibly "obsolete"), or YOU don't know how to program it, or one law officer tells you it is okay, if IT is CAPABLE of receiving Police frequencies, you are GUILTY and your scanner can be confiscated and you can be fined or jailed in those states with restrictive radio scanner laws.

Semper Vaporo
Charles T. McCullough
CMBY RY

pkgs.

DN_IN

  • Fireman
  • **
  • Posts: 65
  • Old Fart
Re: Indiana Scanner Law
« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2013, 12:48:28 AM »
The one way most folks around here are permitted to carry 2-way radios is by working as reserve officers or volunteer firefighters.Since we have a number of meth labs that go up in smoke,the volunteer firefighters are equipped with 2-way radios because of the first responder status.Given the dangers of meth labs,its a priority if the volunteer FD members arrive & determine the situation,they go directly to law enforcement frequencies & advise officers who are responding & others who need to respond ASAP.

That doesn't always work.  I and others I know in the fire service have occasionally been jacked up by certain elements of law enforcement around here, just because our issue HT's have a scan capability.  I think it is usually just a "make sure we keep them in their place" thing -- cops have looked down on firefighters since there have been firefighters and cops -- but the potential for trouble is there.  AFAIK it hasn't yet come to anyone being cited or having their radio seized.  Also, I'd never key up on an LE frequency; around here at least, that's a quick way to get in a whole mess of trouble, even though they don't use it anymore, having moved to Hoosier Safe-T 800 MHz trunked.  We call the dispatcher and have them relay...and of course the cops then key up on our channel if they need to talk to us directly; it's OK for them to break protocol, you see.  And before anybody thinks I am just down on LE, I'm a former Reserve Deputy Sheriff, as well as 28 years in the fire service.  And no, that doesn't help me get a scanner permit; most agencies seem to have adopted a "do not issue/no exceptions" policy on that since 9/11.  So I'm in the process of going the Ham route as well, presuming this old dog can learn a few new tricks. ;)
Armchair Railfan on the back porch listening to trains on the CSX St. Louis Line

rrnut282

  • Mogul
  • *****
  • Posts: 2009
  • I'm a Hoosier Railfan!
Re: Indiana Scanner Law
« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2013, 04:19:00 PM »
It's a bad law.  The airwaves belong to the people, right?  At least they used to. >:(

As long as I'm not attempting anything illegal, I see no problem with having one.
signed,
a scofflaw
rrnut2-8-2
(Mike)

INprinter

  • Willing to railfan for deep fried pickles!
  • Global Moderator
  • Mogul
  • *****
  • Posts: 2381
  • Licensed Ham Radio Operator - K9SVL
Re: Indiana Scanner Law
« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2013, 05:21:37 PM »
It's the old "you're guilty until you can prove yourself innocent" technique.

 "(b) Subsection (a)(1) and (a)(2) do not apply to:
        (1) ...
        (2) ...
        (3) ...
        (4) ...
        (5) ...
        (6) a person who holds an amateur radio license issued by the Federal Communications Commission if the person is not transmitting over a frequency assigned for police emergency purposes;"

The answer to the situation is to successfully test for an Amateur Radio Technicians License. All of you are quite capable of obtaining one. There are plenty of license testing opportunities throughout the year in Central Indiana regardless of where you live. You can find ARRL Volunteer Examiner test locations and dates on the www.arrl.org website. This will make you legal in any State in the country to carry a scanner type radio to monitor police, fire, railroad etc. without fear of being in jeopardy of violating Indiana's or any other States crazy police radio laws. Just don't have an electronic device capable of transmitting on the law enforcement or first responders frequencies and you are golden. Get off your butts and get the license and we can close this discussion.

INPrinter
Shelbyville-1st RR in IN: 7/4/1834. 1st RR abandoned in IN: K&S RR 1854, 26 miles. Making IN RR history. Without photons photography would be a black art. You can never get cornered in the Roundhouse.

DN_IN

  • Fireman
  • **
  • Posts: 65
  • Old Fart
Re: Indiana Scanner Law
« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2013, 05:40:50 PM »
Inprinter is correct; it is much easier than it used to be.  35 questions, multiple-guess, and if you study at all, you should be good.  I've taken the sample test for Technician several times and passed all but one of those attempts, as admittedly mentally-challenged as I am.  As an ambitious teenager (yes, I was one once), I was able to pass the written for Novice but never could get my head around the code.  Now that it's no longer required, I hope I'll get mine without too much sweat (please, Lord, let the memory be working that day).  I have been brushing up; been a long time since I tried it last...1975 to be exact! ;D

@rrnut282: You'll get no argument out of me! 43 states manage to function without regulating scanners, I don't see why Indiana has to.  The crooks trying to avoid cops won't be deterred...they'll hook them to their AM/FM antennas, hide them under the seat or in the console, and listen anyway.  Encountered this myself a couple of times back in the RDS days.
Armchair Railfan on the back porch listening to trains on the CSX St. Louis Line