By Mike DeNardo

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – A high-tech upgrade for the Camden County Police Department radio means that outsiders — and criminals — can’t listen in.

They threw the switch at 7 am, and the county police metro division patrolling Camden joined most of the rest of the county in a 700 MHz radio system with military encryption.

That system blocks access to people with police scanners and phone apps. Until now, County police chief Scott Thomson says, officers had to take pains to conceal sensitive communications.

“Many of our officers out in the field don’t have phones assigned to them. They would either have to use their own personal cell phone to make calls in,” he said. “Or they’d have to go to a location where there was a land line like at the hospital to make a call in.”

Thomson says new GPS capabilities will allow the department to track individual officers’ locations.

“The radio will have GPS capabilities in that, when an officer gets out of his car — and should he chase somebody down an alleyway or go a couple of blocks from his vehicle — we’re able to trace the location of that officer as well,” Thompson said.

A county spokesman says only Cherry Hill and Gloucester Township have not converted to the 700 MHz encrypted radio.

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