CA - Emergency Radio System Draws Police Complaints : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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Thursday, June 15, 2000

Emergency Radio System Draws Police Complaints

IRVINE--The Irvine Police Department, the first law enforcement agency to begin using Orange County's new $80-million emergency radio system, is complaining that the highly touted technology has on some occasions failed to work.

Officers said the radio network has produced garbled messages, drained the life from motorcycle batteries and failed to work altogether in some locations, such as underground parking lots and some buildings.

The criticism prompted Motorola, which is building the system, to fly a crew of experts from plants in Florida and Chicago to fix the problems.

Police officers said difficulties have not caused any major incidents but fear they could undermine public safety if unsolved. "No one's been jeopardized, but there have been some hairy instances because communications weren't as good as we would like," said Irvine Police Cmdr. Jim Blaylock.

"I was under the impression that you unplug one [system] and plug the other one in . . . but that just isn't happening," he added. "From that position, I'm disappointed, but I'm not willing to throw in the towel."

Motorola officials said it is the first time they have encountered such failures while installing a new police emergency system. But they said company technicians worked around the clock over the weekend to solve the problems.

The radio network appears to be working much better since antennas and portable radios were fine-tuned this week, said Motorola spokeswoman Pat Sturmon. Sturmon conceded that the problems with motorcycle radios have proven more complicated. But she maintained that any new radio system the size of Orange County's is likely to experience early glitches.

-- (, June 15, 2000

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