If you've ever relied on a police scanner for your local news (or entertainment, for that matter), you'll probably notice a big drop in the amount of chatter on April 2nd.

The Fort Collins Police Department has decided to encrypt its main radio channel starting Tuesday, effectively cutting off anyone who doesn't have a special radio to decode the signal.

Police Chief John Hutto said the decision to take most emergency traffic off the public airwaves was made to improve officer safety and to prevent exposure of citizens’ private information.

Police are on a weekly basis arriving on scenes to find out people — often suspects — have known they were coming because they were listening to smartphone apps, and Hutto said he’s not waiting for an officer to get hurt before making the change.

[via The Coloradoan.]

The only Fort Collins police channel to remain open to the public will be Channel 4, which is used mainly for special events, to coordinate with other agencies.

Are you glad police are taking this step to protect citizens, or do you think you're just going to feel cut off and in the dark?

Personally, I think it's a great idea; but then again, I don't own a police scanner...