Silent police: JPD operates in secret with encrypted radios


JACKSON, Tenn. — If you see something happening in your area, we want to know about it. Become a WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News Tipster. You can remain anonymous and keep your community informed.

Jackson police are operating in secret. The Jackson Police Department recently switched to a new radio system silencing scanner traffic, meaning the community cannot hear what is going on in the city.

“I don’t think it’s fair to cut the people out,” Martha Smith, a Jackson resident, said. “I think they ought to be able to know what’s going on when it’s happening.”

Police investigated an officer-involved shooting Tuesday outside a busy restaurant in north Jackson followed by a two-county manhunt. We first got it confirmed thanks to a tip from a WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News viewer. The Crockett County Sheriff’s Office released the suspect’s name and picture hours before Jackson police.

WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News met with the Jackson Police Department several weeks ago about the radio transition that now keeps you and us from hearing the scanner traffic. During that meeting, law enforcement said they believe encrypting the radio traffic is a safety issue for the department.

“The community should be aware of their surroundings whether it’s good or bad,” Ruthie Franklin, a Jackson resident, said. “You should be able to know so you can take action for your family.”

You can help keep the community informed by becoming a WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News Tipster. If you see something in your neighborhood, contact us. Call the newsroom at 731-424-4515, email us at, send us a message on Facebook, or tweet us at @WBBJ7News. You can remain anonymous.

WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News reached out to several City Council members about the issue. Some were not aware of the change and others stand behind the police department.

Categories: Local News, News