Scanner 24/7: The fascination over police chatter - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Scanner 24/7: The fascination over police chatter


The sound of a police scanner is something Dave Tessmer hears all day and—if he's awake—all night.

"It's on 24 hours a day," he said.

Tessmer, who lives in Langlade County, has listened to scanners for most of his life.

"Probably since I was 16 years old. I'm 54 now," he said.

Tessmer used to be a firefighter. The scanner came with the job then. But now, it's still a habit.

"I've got one on each end of the house, and then one for the truck," said Tessmer.

During a typical day, Tessmer hears a lot of chatter. Some of it is wacky, but some of it is tragic.

"When you hear accidents that involve children, that hits home," said Tessmer.

Tessmer's not alone in his hobby, either. We found several people across our area who told us they can't get enough of the scanner.

"I know a number of people personally that really enjoy listening to the different emergency services and what's going on in this area," said Marathon County Chief Deputy Sheriff Scott Parks.

Parks says it's inevitable some people will show up to crime scenes after hearing police chatter about it on the scanner. But he says it's not necessarily a bad thing.

"There's citizens that are aware of what's going on in the area, they're more alert, and they provide us information so that's beneficial to us and to the community as a whole," said Parks.

But the open airwaves do have a downside.

"The bad guys listen and monitor where our people are, too," said Parks.

In Wisconsin Rapids, Mandy Stewart keeps her scanner running day and night.

Stewart says she fell in love with scanners as a child. Her grandfather was a police officer. Today, it still keeps her informed and entertained.

"There was a disturbance and they were asking for backup and things were getting out of hand and everything. And it's just like, oh man, this could be big," said Stewart, recalling a recent situation she heard unfold on the scanner.

Tessmer hears plenty of that stuff, too. But he also listens for the weather.

"I'm a storm spotter and I go out into the storms and I rely on the scanner to get info to keep myself safe," he said.

Tessmer even takes the scanner on the road with him in his truck.

So why keep a scanner running all the time? It's obvious the reasons vary, but they all end up creating a unique group of scanner listeners.

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