OPD Communication Meltdown During POTUS Visit

One cop described is as "radio silence."

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    NEWSLETTERS

    As dozens of protestors gathered outside the Fox Theatre while President Barrack Obama was inside speaking Monday night, Oakland police officers working the scene were hit with a communications meltdown. (Published Thursday, Jul 26, 2012)

    As dozens of protesters gathered outside the Fox Theatre where President Barrack Obama was speaking Monday night, Oakland police officers working the scene were hit with a communications meltdown.

    Their radios went in and out of service.

    "Officers had difficulty communicating with one another downtown and as the evening progressed it got worse and worse and ultimately once it was investigated it was determined one of the three antennas that support the system wasn't working," said Barry Donelan, president of the Oakland Police Officers Association.

    Donelan said  it's just the latest example of what officers have been dealing with for months. The city's year-old $18 million system has been plagued by break-downs and dead zones.

    "This system is a train wreck. The real disaster will be when an officer is confronting a suspect and he needs help. He pushes the mic to get help from his colleagues and nobody hears him. That will be the real tragedy of this system," Donelan said.

    Pleasant Hill Police Chief Peter Dunbar said Oakland needs to ditch their system and join the regional radio network. Some 40 other local agencies have already signed on.

    "I think we're very excited at the opportunity we have to get everybody involved," Dunbar said.

    Oakland city leaders say they're looking for solutions and are urging everyone to be patient.

    Oakland City Administrator Deanna Santana said despite efforts to resolve the problem, the city continues to experience outages.

    She also said the city is considering joining the East Bay Regional Communications Authority, but she said she wants to fully analyze the system first.