Miami Beach officers concerned over radio problems

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami Beach Police officers say their safety and the safety of the community is being endangered by frequent instances of radio feedback and static, which complicate communication between officers and dispatchers.

The Miami Beach Fraternal Order of Police told 7News they use their radios for almost everything, from calling for back up to requesting medical assistance. But recently their radios have been going silent with static, according to MB FOP spokesperson Kevin Millan.

“It’s gotten to the point where we have officers that have been raised by the dispatcher and can’t transmit at all,” Millan said.

The officers are seriously concerned with what they call a failing radio system, Millan said. He said the radios are full of intermittent static and feedback.

“You could hear, obviously, it sounds like a tremendous amount of feedback, whistling or howling,” he said. “There’s a lot of problems with trying to communicate with the dispatcher and hear other units while this is going on.”

Millan said the static and feedback worsens between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“The degradation is at the point now where we have officers that can’t be heard on a daily basis,” Millan said. “We have a lot of feedback, as you can hear, and it’s gotten to the point where we’re seriously concerned about somebody getting hurt.”

The city’s Office of Emergency Management manages communications for MBPD.

“We’ve been told by, let’s just say the radio people, that the issue is an atmospheric condition,” he said. “It’s not a big deal until you need us or you need the medical attention that this radio is going to be able to provide in a timely manner.”

In a statement, City of Miami Beach Public Relations Manager Melissa Berthier said, “Our system administrator and radio vendor have advised us that the static began on March 14, and the cause is due to atmospheric conditions, which peak intermittently during early spring between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. We are in the process of procuring a new digital radio system to update our current analog system. This should solve the problem.”

In a recent police pursuit from Miami Beach to Miami, there were serious problems concerning police communication. A supervisor had to use a landline phone to call off the chase.

The city told 7News that these problems will be resolved once they procure their new radio system.

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