LAS VEGAS (AP) — Las Vegas police radio channels are now encrypted, making it impossible for residents and others to listen to transmissions using scanners or websites.

The transition to encrypted communications had been in the works for two years and was not in response to the Oct. 1 mass shooting, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said.

The change will let police guard sensitive transmissions, such as details about victims or tactical information a suspect armed with a scanner could hear over the open airwaves, Las Vegas police spokesman Jay Rivera said.

"It's a real bum deal for the public," Mikey Slyman, a co-founder of the Las Vegas Emergency Incidents (Las Vegas Heroes) Facebook group, told the Las Vegas Sun.

The group, which has more than 50,000 members and has become a tool for people curious about police activity, relies heavily on scanner traffic to share information, said Slyman, a bail bondsman and real estate agent.

Slyman recalled a time he was listening in about police activity in his neighborhood when he spotted a burglary suspect running past his house and was able to help direct officers.

Media outlets will continue to have access to channel, police said.

Slyman said he has not received any information about who will be included in "media."

"Call us independent media, but I think we have the right to that information," he said.

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Information from: Las Vegas Sun, http://www.lasvegassun.com