Most public safety agencies maintain a conventional radio system that can be monitored by most police scanners. For the time being, and with the exception of a few counties (Ada, Bannock and Bingham), a basic police scanner from low to high end will work.The city of Boise in Ada County, uses radio encryption technology which no police scanner can monitor.
However, the state has begun the long process of migrating to an all digital radio system. This system named
Idaho Interoperable Mutual Aid Radio System or (IIMARS) will allow cities, counties, state and federal agencies to communicate on one statewide radio system. The system will operate on the 700mhz radio frequency spectrum and requires a digital radio scanner to monitor communications. This system also allows public safety agencies to encrypt their radio transmissions when necessary, meaning no scanner would be able
to monitor an encrypted radio transmission. Unfortuantely, this is not good news for the scanner enthusiast when radio transmissions are encrypted. However, encryption is typically not turned on 24/7, so, non-sensitive radio traffic can be monitored without a problem. When this transition takes place, many public safety agencies will
simulcast their radio traffic on both the conventional and digital system.
For the time being, any basic scanner will work well, however, we highly recommend a
digital police scanner when the switch is made to digital and to presently monitor Ada, Bannock and Bingham counties (with the exception of the city of Boise).