Now hear this: Emergency agencies turn off radio encryption

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  • In this Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016 photo, a radio in a police cruiser sits between the front seats in Naugatuck, Conn. While many police departments around the country are concealing their dispatch communications through encryption, Naugatuck, among others, has decided to keep theirs open to the public. Some police chiefs have said their officers may not be able to communicate on encrypted systems with first-responders in neighboring towns. (AP Photo/Dave Collins)

    In this Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016 photo, a radio in a police cruiser sits between the front seats in Naugatuck, Conn. While many police departments around the country are concealing their dispatch communications through encryption, Naugatuck, among ... others, has decided to keep theirs open to the public. Some police chiefs have said their officers may not be able to communicate on encrypted systems with first-responders in neighboring towns. (AP Photo/Dave Collins) (The Associated Press)

  • In this Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016 photo, dispatcher Kelly Orsini works at her communications desk at the police department in Naugatuck, Conn. While many police departments around the country are concealing their dispatch communications through encryption, Naugatuck, among others, has decided to keep theirs open to the public. Some police chiefs have said their officers may not be able to communicate on encrypted systems with first-responders in neighboring towns. (AP Photo/Dave Collins)

    In this Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016 photo, dispatcher Kelly Orsini works at her communications desk at the police department in Naugatuck, Conn. While many police departments around the country are concealing their dispatch communications through ... encryption, Naugatuck, among others, has decided to keep theirs open to the public. Some police chiefs have said their officers may not be able to communicate on encrypted systems with first-responders in neighboring towns. (AP Photo/Dave Collins) (The Associated Press)

  • In this Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016 photo, Police Chief Christopher Edson points out the department's dispatching communications system in Naugatuck, Conn. While many police departments around the country are concealing their dispatch communications through encryption, Naugatuck, among others, has decided to keep theirs open to the public. Some police chiefs have said their officers may not be able to communicate on encrypted systems with first-responders in neighboring towns. (AP Photo/Dave Collins)

    In this Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016 photo, Police Chief Christopher Edson points out the department's dispatching communications system in Naugatuck, Conn. While many police departments around the country are concealing their dispatch communications ... through encryption, Naugatuck, among others, has decided to keep theirs open to the public. Some police chiefs have said their officers may not be able to communicate on encrypted systems with first-responders in neighboring towns. (AP Photo/Dave Collins) (The Associated Press)

Some police and fire departments are turning off their radio encryption and allowing the public to listen in again to their emergency dispatch communications. Other agencies are opting not to use encryption.

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Police officials say their officers can't communicate over encrypted radios with some neighboring law enforcement agencies with radio systems that either don't have access to their encrypted channels or aren't advanced enough to have encryption capability.

Some officials also say they've received complaints about encryption from the media and transparent government advocates.

The departments are bucking a slow trend toward encryption, which blocks people using scanners and cellphone apps from listening to emergency dispatch communications.

Police in New Orleans; Spokane, Washington; and other cities have vowed not to encrypt their main dispatch channels. Others have turned it off.