A few weeks ago, my family went to Hawaii to visit my in-laws. I could not join them as work forbade me (quite literally, I should add) to join them. While they were gone, I was quite lonely so for reasons that are not entirely clear, I bought a Radio Shack Scanner 404.
The scanner's features boast that it can deftly pick up police, fire, aircraft, maritime as well as amateur radio activity. The truth of the matter is you get a good deal of police and fire coverage, sporadic amateur traffic and limited aircraft activity if you happen to be sitting in the parking lot of an airport.
Nonetheless, still a good pick up. I'd recommend to all you writers out there with writer's block. Sometimes, everything I hear seems to be nothing more than administrative codes, but then you hear stories of runaways, or calls for police to assist a woman whose apartment door was open and now she's too afraid to go in. It's all real and happening right now.