OPD radios crash during President Obama's visit

(KGO)
July 26, 2012 12:05:16 PM PDT
Police officers had more problems with Oakland's troubled police radio system and this time, it failed in the national spotlight while President Obama was in town. And, the radio system is almost brand new. It's only about one-year-old, but police officers say they've been having problems with it all year long.

They say they're extra upset that they had a problem with it this time when President Obama was in town on Monday. The department brought in extra officers because of the president's visit, but had problems with the radios throughout the day. At one point, they were completely down for about 30 minutes and officers couldn't talk to each other or dispatch. At the same time, they were dealing with protests surrounding the president's visit and there were concerns the protests might get out of hand.

Police are now calling the new radio system a train wreck. "This is outrageous. This is an unacceptable situation that puts the lives of the citizens of Oakland and the officers who serve them in danger," said Police Officers Association President Barry Donelan. "Remember, you have to frame it behind the fact that we have 30 percent less officers now than we had two years ago. We have a 20 percent increase in the most serious types of crime here in Oakland. And now we have a radio system that doesn't work as well."

Officers say they heard crews working on both the downtown radio tower as well as the one up in the Oakland Hills starting around 3 a.m. Thursday. Word is that one of the three antennas simply failed to operate. Officers say all the agencies in the cities around Oakland have radio systems that work. They want to know why they don't.

The city administrator and the police chief met Thursday morning behind closed doors at City Hall to discuss the issue. They mayor was expected to join in on talks and a public statement is expected regarding what they plan to do next.


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