How Can I Use My PC As a Police Scanner?

Updated July 20, 2017

Police scanners are unique devices that give you the ability obtain information about your local community at the same time police officers receive it. Having a police scanner built in to your computer is especially useful for reporters, as well as people who like to listen in as a hobby. It's easy to get your computer up and running as a police scanner.

Open your web browser and go to (see References). This free website, which hosts more than 1,600 police radio streams from across North America, does not require that the user sign up for anything to use its services. On the home page, you will find a numerous options and links to information regarding police scanners. Click on the "Live Audio" button on the top left portion of the screen.

Select the state of your choosing from the interactive map located on the centre of the screen. From there you will see a map of your selected state divided into various counties. The counties that are shaded in blue have active police radio streams. Double-click on the county that you are interested in listening to.

Choose the format in which you wish to stream the police radio broadcasts by opening the drop-down menu under the column entitled 'Player Selection' on the right side of the screen. There you will find various streaming formats, such as iTunes and Windows Media Player. By default, the audio will play from within your web browser through a customised player.

Move your mouse over to the left side of the screen and double-click on the grey speaker button under the 'Listen' column. This will connect you to a stream of your selected police department's radio transmissions. You have now successfully added police scanning functionality to your PC.


In addition to providing links to police scanner streams, RadioReference also offers the ability to listen to fire brigade and EMS transmissions. Disable any pop-up blockers that you have installed, as they may prevent the streams from starting.

Things You'll Need

  • Internet connection
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About the Author

Phil Hoops, a student at the Rutgers Business School in Newark, N.J., has been a freelance journalist since 2008. Throughout his career his work has appeared in many online publications, including He is perhaps best known for his coverage of New Jersey sports on the lifestyle website, GlocallyNewark.