Concerned Manchester Residents to Raise Voices Against MPD Radio Silence
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, September 28th, 2016
Spearheaded by Carla Gericke for NH Senate, concerned Manchester residents will gather at City Hall Plaza on Elm Street from 5-8PM on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 to raise their voices against the encryption of Manchester Police Department’s radios while military-grade equipment continue to be deployed on the streets of Manchester, NH.
Manchester, NH – In Manchester, a city with a population of 110,000 that often ranks highly in affordability and livability and where, according to the police chief, crime is down 20%, the police department recently started encrypting all police transmissions on the city’s new debt-funded $5.8 million emergency radio system. In an unsigned statement, MPD said: “We can assure you that our decision had absolutely nothing to do with trying to hide any type of nefarious activity.”
“The MPD’s unprecedented five hour lockdown of West Manchester in May was pretty ‘nefarious’ in my book,” said Carla Gericke, who organized a rally in response to the lockdown in June. “Seeing such unconstitutional police action with military-grade equipment like BEARCATS and helicopters clamoring overhead while officers roam the streets with rifles at-the-ready is partly why I am running for office.” Gericke is running for NH State Senate in District 20 which includes Goffstown and Wards 3, 4, 10 and 11 in Manchester. “As public officials, we must follow the constitution, and be accountable and transparent to the people we serve.”
The radio encryption has also raised concerns for media, social media and freelance journalists. In an open letter, Jeff Hastings, a freelance photographer and videographer, wrote: “…hearing everyday calls adds a level of transparency and accountability. As journalists and providers of information, we are now reduced 100 percent to what MPD wants to tell us.”
The encryption of the Motorola APX7000L system was done without any public hearing. Appeals at an alderman meeting last week to switch back to unencrypted police radio transmissions fell on deaf ears, with all but one city alderman rejecting the idea.
“I hope when they see us on Tuesday,” said Gericke, “They will take up the issue again, and represent the will of the people.”
Chris Blue, an electronics system technician for the city said other Manchester services like Fire and Ambulance will not be encrypted, stating in the Union Leader that the MPD encryption is, “What the military uses, the FBI, the DEA.”
“That’s exactly what I find troublesome,” said Carla Gericke. “Our local police are not supposed to be the military or agents of the federal government. Hiding behind encryption while increasing the use of military tactics is dangerous to a free and open society. We have a right to know what our police department is up to. In many cases over the last few years, it was ordinary citizens who led to the apprehension of suspects. Instead of keeping us in the dark, the police should welcome our help."
A press conference will take place at 6:30PM on October 4, 2016 at City Hall Plaza on Elm Street, Manchester, NH. Manchester residents are invited to use the “SoapBox” for up to 2 minutes to express their opinions. For more information, contact Carla Gericke at: carla@carla4NHsenate (dot) com.
Please RSVP to the event on Facebook HERE.
Carla Gericke was born in South Africa, raised in a diplomatic household, and moved to the U.S. in 1996 after winning a green card in the Diversity lottery. She became a U.S. citizen in 2000. Carla practiced law in South Africa and at Fortune 500 companies in Silicon Valley before completing her M.F.A. in New York City. After moving to New Hampshire in 2008 as part of Free State Project, a movement to attract 20,000 liberty activists to the Granite State, Carla twice organized PorcFest, one of the world’s largest liberty gatherings. Also in 2014, she successfully spearheaded efforts to remove fraudulent claims about Free Staters from a federal BEARCAT grant application. In 2014, acting as plaintiff, Carla won a landmark First Circuit Court of Appeals case affirming the 1st Amendment right to film police encounters. She was named one of NH Magazine’s 2014 “Remarkable Women.” Carla served as FSP president from 2011-2016, stepping down after she secured the 20,000 signer two years ahead of projections. She remains on the board as president emeritus. Carla writes and speaks on a variety of topics, and has been quoted in The Economist, WSJ, New York Magazine, New York Times, Playboy, GQ, and has appeared on CNN and WMUR. She is working on a forthcoming memoir, Chill Don’t Kill, about the her role in the FSP, her arrest for wiretapping, and the landmark court decision that followed. In her spare time, Carla enjoys cooking, hiking, reading, and traveling. She practices yoga and shooting, and plays a mean game of Scrabble. She lives in Manchester, NH, with her husband of twenty-two years, and their rescued dog, Nervous Nellie. Carla Gericke is the 2016 Republican candidate for New Hampshire State Senate in District 20 (Goffstown and Manchester Wards 3, 4, 10 and 11). Read more about her activism on Wikipedia.