Oakland police still having problems with radios

August 21, 2012 7:44:10 PM PDT
Oakland's police union says it's still having problems with its radios even though the city has found what it believes to be the main cause of the trouble-plagued communications system. The city announced Monday that AT&T's cell sites were the culprit and the company suspended services at 16 of its towers.

"Until we saw your report on TV I had no idea," Oakland Police Officers Association President Barry Donelan said.

Donelan just learned Monday that AT&T's cell sites appear to be the cause of the continuing problems that rank and file officers are having with their radios.

Six days ago, an internal city investigation found that AT&T's cell sites were interfering with Oakland's public safety radio system because its signals were bleeding into the radio channels, causing the sporadic interference.

After the FCC verified the city's findings, AT&T stopped its 2G network services that were affecting the radios at 16 of its Oakland cell sites.

But Donelan says his officers are still experiencing problems.

"As late as yesterday at 1 p.m., we had a radio outage," Donelan said. "We also had a radio problem on the east end of the city last Friday.

"It wouldn't surprise me that Oakland police officers are still having problems in the field," public safety systems advisor David Cruise said.

Cruise heads the team investigating the glitches. He says they have not finished their work, which includes looking at all the cell sites in Oakland and neighboring cities and other possible causes.

"The 16 sites that are currently temporarily disabled by AT&T are a very small fraction of sites in their network, as well as other carriers and potentially other interference sources," Cruise said.

Cruise says police with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey experienced a similar problem last fall with their radio system.

"They worked with AT&T at their sites in the New York, New Jersey area and also temporarily disabled their sites," he said.

Finding what's wrong with the radio may be difficult, but police say their request is simple.

"All we want is a fix to enable us to go out there and serve the public as best we can," Donelan said.


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