The Billings Police Department will no longer be broadcasting its radio transmissions between officers and from officers to dispatchers on frequencies that can be picked up by police scanners, reports the Billings Gazette.

The police bands on Friday will go from broadcasting clear speech to scrambled electronic tones that can only be deciphered by units programmed to unscramble the transmissions, said BPD Chief Rich St. John.

The $831,605 purchase of 453 new Tait 9400 radios — 303 for police and other department uses and 150 for firefighters — was approved unanimously by the City Council on Feb. 10, enabling officers to exclude curious ears from their transmissions.

"Everything coming out of dispatch is open, it’s just car-to-car chatter and car-back-to-dispatch chat is what’s encrypted," St. John said.

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