1 Adam 12 see the woman at 1242 Hauser St. prowler complaint. Handle this call code 2; and so began my fascination with police shows and police radio jargon. Shortly thereafter I was listening intently to my father’s police scanner of the happenings all over southern California. So imagine my excitement and anticipation as I added the Emergency Radio iPhone app by EdgeRift, Inc and the Police Scanner iPhone app by Juicy Development LLC to my rapidly growing applications library.
Both Emergency Radio and Police Scanner pretty much accomplish the basics of what they set out to do, stream live radio conversations broadcast over police, fire and EMS frequencies.
Let’s take a look at each individually, starting with Emergency Radio. When selected Emergency Radio opens to an All Channels page from which you can scroll through more than a thousand agencies and select one to listen to. You can select the Nearby option and assign a mile radius to search for agencies from. As I sit here in the fifth largest city in California, the 36th largest in the U.S. I find that apparently my local agencies aren’t on the feed, neither are any of the neighboring agencies. The closest agency I can listen to is 22.80 miles away. That hurts but I’ll move on.
The stream on Emergency Radio is fairly clear and easy to listen to. For those not familiar with police and fire codes there is a glossary of terms for various codes listed below the name of the channel that is streaming. You’re able to scroll down and view the list to keep up with what’s going on. There is also an option to favorite a channel.
Still feeling the sting of not being able to listen to what’s happening within my city or nearby I decided to see what I could find interesting by scrolling down the All Channels list. Bingo, the LAPD channel, the motherload of police activity. Shortly after selecting LAPD I realize that I’m not listening to the LAPD broadcast but to a completely different agency within Los Angeles County. Recently I went back to the LAPD frequency and received a message stating that it’s momentarily offline. The developers have since posted a note on iTunes stating that a 24/7 LAPD channel will be included in a update currently awaiting Apple’s approval.
Onto the Police Scanner iPhone app, when selected it also opens to a page from which you can select a location by state, city, zip code or nearest your current location. Again, the list of choices is almost endless with more than a thousand agencies to choose from. Chose the Browse tab and you can select such regions as Australia, Canada, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden, as well as the United States. Again my big cities agencies are not available.
Police Scanner has the edge on clarity and seamless streaming. What police scanner doesn’t have that Emergency Radio does, is a glossary to reference while listening to the broadcasts. Both Police Scanner and Emergency Radio can have long periods of silence. Activity and need for transmissions is based on the call load of the agency you’re listening to. Some areas naturally have more activity than others. Sheriff Taylor and Barney Fife simply had less to do in Mayberry than McGarrett and Dano had on the Big Island. If the action is too slow you can always find another channel.
Both Police Scanner and Emergency Radio lose out in the search category. There is no way to jump ahead while navigating. You have to scroll continually and work your way through the alphabetical order. But again Police Scanner gets the favorable nod because you can at least search by state which cuts down on the number of choices available at a given time.
If you’re really into Police, Fire or EMS broadcasts you might want to spend the bucks on a programmable scanner from your nearest electronics store. But for those that want to hear that occasional police chatter, or quickly tune in and find out why all the police cars are parked up the block. (Assuming your city is available) Police Scanner and Emergency Radio iPhone apps may both be worthwhile apps.
The pros and cons of Police Scanner and Emergency Radio are similar but I’d have to give the edge to Police Scanner. The search ability is superior, the graphics are far superior, I found the broadcast from the same Canadian agency to be clearer and I liked the broader selection of locations more suited to my needs.