Protests have mobilized across the nation following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. As a result, people are keeping a watchful eye on police activities and protests as they unfold.
One of the best ways to follow along is to use scanners and listen to radio chatter. This may sound legally questionable, but the Communications Act of 1934 established that radio airwaves are public property of the American people. It’s actually well within your rights to listen. Tap or click to see why some disagree and want to change this.
With the exception of during investigations or manhunts, most police channels are easy to tune into. All you need are the right apps for the job. Here are our top five police scanner apps you can download on your device right now.
Police Scanner Radio & Fire adds breaking news alerts to your listening experience
Scanner Radio is one of the most popular free scanners you can download right now — and for good reason. It piggybacks off the acclaimed Broadcastify app, which includes police, fire, EMS and other audio feeds.
You can use scanner radio to tune into your local police chatter, or if you want to, listen-in on chatter in another precinct. You have access to channels from around the world. You can also subscribe to breaking news alerts for even more context. The app is free to download but be prepared for ads while you listen.
Upgrade to Broadcastify for even more options
Broadcastify is the main platform Police Scanner Radio & Fire uses to source its content, but the full-fledged app is also worth a look. For $2.99, you get an ad-free listening experience with even more channels, as well as aviation, weather and amateur broadcasters.
And yes, you can still subscribe to push-notifications just like with the free app.
Scanner 911 is one of the best options for Android
Scanner 911 contains over 5,000 police, fire, rescue and other radio feeds that you can listen to for free. There is also an option to upgrade the app for $4.99 to remove ads. Premium users can also listen to the app in the background, meaning you’re free to do other things on your device while you tune in.
5-0 Radio Police Scanner explains what you’re hearing
5-0 Radio Police Scanner may not look as clean or attractive as some of the other apps we’ve listed, but what it lacks in beauty it makes up for in brains. The app includes detailed information on police codes you might hear during your sessions, which can add even more context to any situations you come across.
Police Scanner + for Apple devices
If you’re looking for a neat all-in-one listening solution for broadcasts, Police Scanner + has you covered. Not only do you get access to emergency services like police and fire, but regular radio stations are also available for you to tune into whenever you’d like. Fun fact: This app was famously used in the hit film “The Amazing Spiderman.”
As you can see, the smartphone revolution put information like police radio into everybody’s pockets. Why not exercise your right to listen? Whether you’re out on the streets or remaining at home, keep safe and stay informed.