Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes
BearCatWarehouse.com sells Uniden home patrol scanners that you can use to listen to the traffic on the police radio channels. These can be used to gather information about crimes that are in progress. Many people like to have them so that they know when there is breaking news, even before they could have gotten it from another source. One of the biggest questions that people have, though, is whether or not the scanners work both ways, allowing them to talk to the police officers.
The short answer is that the scanners almost always only work in one direction. You can listen to what the police officers are saying, but you can never contribute to these conversations yourself. The only exception to this rule is if you had a police radio that you were using as a scanner, which may allow you to talk to them on the same frequency. With these stock scanners, though, they are more like the radios that you use to listen to music in the car; that is to say, they are receiving units and not sending units.
The scanners are set up this way because having civilian traffic on the police radio channel would really cause a lot of problems. The officers could get confused about who they were talking to or they could find that the lines were all tied up with people talking to each other, making official communication impossible. The airwaves need to stay open for all of the official responding units.