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Wednesday, June 14, 2000

Radios wont let
Leeward police talk
to 911 workers

By Jaymes K. Song


The Honolulu Police Department today was working to find out why officers in Leeward Oahu can't communicate with 911 dispatchers over the department's two-year-old radio system.

Officers in the Waianae patrol district, which includes Nanakuli, Ewa and Kapolei, have been reporting intermittent problems communicating with emergency dispatchers since Monday. They were still reporting problems as of mid-morning today.

However, the officers could communicate with each other and the Waianae Police Station, HPD officials said. Engineers were inspecting a microwave antenna system in Waianae this morning as a possible source of the problem.

As a precaution, emergency dispatchers were sent to Waianae last night, but were not used, said HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu.

The $20 million Ericsson radio system was installed two years ago and has had ongoing problems. This is the second major radio outage reported this year.

On Jan. 19, two faulty computer cards caused the communication system to shut down for five hours. The cards were designed to last several years.

The city paid $2,300 to replace the cards.

In February, an officer injured by a gunshot while responding to a domestic dispute in Ewa may have had problems with the red panic alert button on his portable radio.

Last year, a police officer reported pressing the button while in a scuffle with a suspect in Kailua, but no signal was received by dispatchers.

Ericsson officials said that the panic button has to be pressed for more than one second and that the radio used by the officer in Kailua worked properly when tested.

Officers have also reported "dead spots," garbled sound and connections being cut off.

Ericsson referred all questions on the problems to HPD.

Police scheduled a news conference later today to discuss the radio problem.

E-mail to City Desk

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