New Radio System Is Full Of Bugs
Michigan has spent $221 million on a state-wide, Motorola-built digital radio system for exclusive use by state police and safety agency officials, and yet State Police Troopers Association attorney Mark A. Porter says the system is like a race-horse that only trots.
The pinnacle of the system is a network of 181 towers that connects state-wide devices. Currently, portable radios cannot use the digital system when an officer is inside a building, the system itself cannot deliver computerized data, and the system has various communicative dead zones.
On Feb. 19, the system blanked-out in southeast Michigan for around eight hours, according to a Detroit News investigation. Some police affected by this blackout switched to backup radio systems, while others without any backup had to return to their respective posts.
Potter says another blackout occurred three months ago, and some officers now carry Nextel cell-phones on their own initiative for use as backup.
State officials say the old system was creaky and outdated, and that the old transmission towers are unsafe for technicians. Beyond capital costs, the system costs $200 per radio per year, with a $25 set-up fee per radio.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Detroit News (03/20/03) P. 1D; Martindale, Mike .