No, I mean, we can totally put these oily rags in the dryer. It'll be fine.
October 19, 2008 10:06 AM   Subscribe

Is there any way I can get relatively current Washington, DC police/fire/EMT dispatch information onlineor on my desktop?

I live in a neighborhood that seems to feature an unusually large number of stupid people injuring themselves and injuring others. In a given day, if I'm home working the whole day, the fire department will come to an event within three blocks of me at least twice - ditto for the cops and ambulances.

I'm interested in getting information about what is happening without bothering with a special radio or similar. There's a PG County teamspeak server for various firehouses but I'd rather not go that route.

Ideally, the thing I'm looking for would be an MP3/AAC/AAC+ stream or an oft-updated text or HTML page. An RSS Feed would be similarly useful.

All suggestions and useful information are much appreciated. I'd be tangentially interested in federal dispatch information as well, though I suspect that's more closely guarded from the public.
posted by Inspector.Gadget to Technology (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not from the DC area, but I'm a big scanner buff; I'm not finding anything other than the one you mentioned and a couple broken links. Not sure why you're averse to TeamSpeak; I've had good luck with it. (Not the DC one, though; never tried that.)

A live feed has the same problem as a scanner, though: you have to be listening ahead of time to know why the fire trucks went by.

I'm not aware of any places that transcribe what's happening/happened anywhere near real-time, aside from incident paging sort of services. (Not an endorsement of that particular service.) Of course, then you'd need to pay ~$10/month for the service on top of the actual pager subscription... Probably not what you want, either.

$100 would buy a decent-enough police scanner, though be warned that many of the police departments (and Feds) are running P25 digital, which would necessitate a $4-500 scanner. (Many of the Feds encrypt their traffic, too, so it's impossible to listen to them, unless you're the NSA.)
posted by fogster at 10:57 AM on October 19, 2008

This is apocryphal, but I too have heard (from scanner buffs and radio hackers) that DCPD uses digital radio systems.
posted by phrontist at 1:28 PM on October 19, 2008

Although not real time, the Metropolitan Police Department has a Research and Analysis Branch that provides crime data that you can map using their Crime Mapping Application. Regarding their data: "Typically the system is updated each business day with crimes reported on the previous day. Crimes reported on weekends and holidays are added to the system on the next business day." You can input an address and locate crimes in your neighborhood.
posted by LightMayo at 10:04 AM on October 20, 2008

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