Are police scanner phone apps a threat to Valley police?

Just a quick search for police scanner applications, and dozens of choices are available at the tip of your finger.

Even more convenient, many of the apps are free.

CEO of Smartest Apples James Leung said his company's app, 5-0 Radio, is the most downloaded police scanner app.

He said it has the capabilities to record and listen to police, firefighters, EMS, airports, trains, NOAA weather reports and more.

Action 4 News asked Brownsville Police Commander Orlando Rodriguez if officers are at risk with these apps.

"The phone apps scanners now are just a modern twist to something that goes back decades," Rodriguez said. "We have come across, numerous times, where you have actual criminals - burglars, thieves - that are in possession of scanners to listen to police responses. So do they sometimes aid criminals? Absolutely."

But Rodriguez said scanners have been available to the public for years, and it's something police officers have always dealt with.

Leung said he understands officers' concerns, but adds that they know better than to divulge valuable info over a radio scanner.

He said his company doesn TMt air tactical operations and can remove any feeds if there was a serious threat.

Leung said this has become a sort of reality radio that people enjoy tuning into " Rodriguez agreed.

"A lot of people are just interested in the police world and they find it entertaining to listen to scanners and see what's happening out there, Rodriguez said. Some people are enthusiast and like to listen to it as a hobby."

Rodriguez said most of the information that is distributed through the apps is based on crime that has already taken place. He said he TMs not too worried about people chiming in on future operations or cracking down codes.

"Coincidently a lot of these codes are becoming obsolete especially with (U.S.) Homeland Security, Rodriguez said. They can become confusing for different agencies, so we've actually gotten away from that type of communication."