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January 17, 2024

Yesterday, at the Pocomoke City Council Meeting, Pocomoke City Police Chief Arthur Hancock informed the council that he will be encrypting the police frequencies in approximately 2 weeks. I have emailed the Pocomoke City Mayor and Council the following pertaining to that council meeting, and the statements made by Chief Hancock. 


Good Afternoon Mayor Nock, and respective members of the Pocomoke City Council, 

Yesterday, at the Pocomoke City Council Meeting, Pocomoke City Police Chief Arthur Hancock informed the council that he will be encrypting the Pocomoke City Police frequency in about 2 weeks, essentially giving up transparency to our community, and preventing the public from having any access to police information.  

Encryption essentially cuts off the access the public has to police information in our community. The reason I am so quick to defend encryption is because I firmly stand behind transparency, and feel that it is very important for our citizens to know what is happening in our communities.  When you take away the ability for anyone other than police to have access to that information, it is the equivalent of giving the fox the keys to the henhouse. 

Without public having access, there are no checks and balances, there is no trust between the law enforcement agency and the community, and from my experience as an officer, I can tell you at no time did I ever concern myself with what the public knew, because I had nothing to hide.

If it was something that needed to be off the public air-ways, such as a rape investigation or something to prevent officer safety issues, there were channels that are set up for that type of call. Taking away ALL access to the public, is detrimental to public trust, and in today's society, law enforcement agencies can't afford to lose anymore trust!  

With that said, I would like to address each reason that Chief Hancock gave yesterday, and provide an explaination why what he is saying is not true. 

1. Chief Hancock stated that there are a lot of social media pages that put out false and inaccurate information about incidents. Let's address that first part with stating that you and I, and even Chief Hancock, know that he was referring to Eastern Shore Undercover. We are the largest social media platform on the eastern shore, and have by far the largest engagement rate. 

There truly are not many other social media or news outlets that provide coverage to your area, so again, what he wanted to say was Eastern Shore Undercover.  

A reason that he feels this way about "inaccurate information" is because of an incident that took place which we disagree on the wording of a post. There was an incident where a suspect shot at a house in Pocomoke. When officers got on scene, there were upwards of double digit shell casings located in the area, and bullet fragments found in a residence. 

In my opinion, that is a shooting.  In Chief Hancock's opinion, that is a call for shots fired. We had a conversation about it, we are in disagreement about how it should be worded but the fact remains, the incident happened, bullets were fired from a gun at a residence, and no matter how you word it, it is a shooting. 

Second, Eastern Shore Undercover can not help the information that is relayed from the  original dispatch to the officers involved. If a call is put out as a "drive-by shooting", that is how we label it. We don't change things, we keep them as they are called out, until we know more information. 

I don't think that is inaccurate information, I think that is a disagreement on how the Chief wants things worded. In my industry, honesty is imparitive and I have gained such a power presence because I am 100% honest on my website and social media platforms and our community can trust, that the information we publish, it what is happening in our community, and what our first responders are are dealing with in our community. 

Chief Hancock stated that by encrypting the channels, it will eliminate the inaccuracies, but what it will truly eliminate is the community having any idea of what is happening in the area. 

Unfortunately, press releases are not distributed in a timely manner and without my service, most people won't even know what is happening in their very own communities. 

As an example, in the past 30 days, there have been 2 incidents reported on the Pocomoke City Police social media page. Chief Hancock said in the meeting that they post on their social media page but do you honestly think that there have only been 2 incidents, worthy of the community knowing?   

Furthermore, if you go all the way back to the end of summer, which is now 5 months, in all of that time, there has been 8 posts published on Pocomoke Police Facebook about criminal activity in Pocomoke? Do you honestly believe that there have only been 8 incidents, 4 of which were theft or vehicle break-ins?  Where is that shooting that we talked about earlier? Is that not important enough to share with the community?

2. Chief Hancock stated that people may use the information obtained that over the radio in a malicious manner.  I would encourage you all to ask Chief Hancock to give you one single example of when this has happened, since he has been Chief of Police in Pocomoke.  Ask for one example with a case report being done, on someone using information obtained over the radio/scanner/pager in a negative manner in Pocomoke, that negatively impacted a citizen. 

3. Chief Hancock stated that it is an officer safety issue but again, I would encourage you to ask Chief Hancock for one single example of when this has been an issue. 

Just so you are aware, the average police scanner or pager runs on average of about $700-$800 to purchase. On top of that, the person would have to have the radio or pager programmed and even after doing this for nearly 4 years, I still don't have the ability to program my own equiment because of how complicated it is. 

Could it happen, sure, but most criminals who are looking to burglarize a residence or get their next fix of drugs are more concerned with having money in their pocket, which if they did have a scanner or page, would be pawned so they could have their money for their needs and their next fix. 

Mayor Nock, I know that you have in the past followed our page, Eastern Shore Undercover, and I know you are at least familiar with the process.  

I run a very professional page. I run a page that is very pro-police.  I run that page so that everyone, no matter your age, race, sex, nationality or where you come from here on the shore, is able to enjoy knowing what is happening in our community! 

I would ask that this council, to consider the ramifications of allowing the Pocomoke City Police Department to encypt their frequencies, and stand by your community, and their rights to transparency.  

If you have any questions or need any clarifications, I would gladly come to Pocomoke and meet with anyone, to provide clarity and clear up any confusion about this topic.