Ten years ago the only way to listen to Scotts Bluff County was to own a physical scanner and program in the channels you wanted to listen to. Today you can click on a link and start listening instantly, thanks to some local volunteers.
The idea of doing something more for Scotts Bluff County first came about in 2009 when Brian Hale, an entrepreneur and local media business owner, was approached by a friend with the idea of acquiring the license to broadcast the live scanner signal over the internet, like several other counties in Nebraska were already doing.
"We did some research, applied for the license, installed some software and we were up and running from my friend's garage in Scottsbluff in a few days," according to Hale.
That was almost a decade ago. For years, the stream was there, then it wasn't. It was very inconsistent. In fact, there were some very extended periods of dowtime, but they held on to the license, with hopes of eventually upgrade equipment and spending more time on this volunteer service.
"The Scotts Bluff County Scanner really improved several years ago when Brandon Ritterbush came on as our volunteer host. If it weren't for Brandon, and the support of Hale Multimedia, none of this would have gotten started," added Hale.
The official formation of the group known as Scotts Bluff County Scanner (SBCS) took place on March 1st of this year at the Scottsbluff Fairfield Inn with six volunteers members physically present and several others via conference call. Under the leadership of Brian Hale, the group formed a Board of Directors of 12 individuals who then elected their Officers for 2018, naming Brandon Ritterbush as President/Treasurer, Stacey Cleays as Vice President, and Jeri Johnson as Secretary.
The group states their mission is "to stay informed, keep the public informed, and to hold our public officials accountable."
The group focuses on five major areas of interest; Police & Crime, Fire & Rescue, Severe Weather, Missing Persons, and Public Safety & Awareness.
Hale said they use a variety of media to get their alerts out to the community, but their Facebook page has a tremendous group of followers and continues to steadily grow. The group also can be found on Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, Google Blogger, and the web at www.scottsbluffcountyscanner.com.
Their live scanner stream can be accessed from any police scanner app via your favorite app store, through their Facebook page, or their website via any web connected device.
Hale concludes by reminding the community that SBCS is always looking for volunteers to join their team of concerned community citizens. If interested, contact them via their website or social media.