Last week, during President Barack Obama's visit to Oakland, the city's new, $18 million police radio system failed, leaving many of the 100 police officers assigned to presidential duty unable to communicate with one another or police dispatchers.
According to Barry Donelan, president of the Oakland Police Officer's Association, officers could not reach dispatchers for 30 minutes.
‘"It doesn't work, that’s the bottom line,’" Donelan said in a statement. "Our officers have absolutely no confidence with this current radio system. It puts my officers and the citizens they serve in serious jeopardy because of its unreliability."
Donelan's union has been highly outspoken about the unreliability of the new system, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The year-old system is continuously plagued by breakdowns and dead zones that leave the digital radios prone to blackouts throughout the entire city.
Pete Dunbar, a former Oakland police officer who is on the regional system's board told the news source that he hopes this episode will convince the city to once again change the radio network, as it's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.
The old, analog system was replaced in June 2011, which allegedly had numerous dead zones in bad areas of the town. However, many officers feel the upgrade has not made significant improvements and that the daily operations are very touch-and-go.
City officials said that the communication issue was due to a failure of a cooling unit used on a nearby transmission tower.
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