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Glitch Takes Down Oakland Police Radio System, Computer Dispatch

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – The Oakland Police radio system failed Thursday afternoon, and it isn't the first time. It has a rocky history, at times leaving officers unable to communicate with each other during emergencies.

Police said it went to a backup county system and everything was working again within 40 minutes. But that's not good enough, for councilmember Noel Gallo.

"For me to hear that our radios are off and on sometimes is really, it sets back public safety and it kind of holds back our police officers, and they had no confidence in our previous radio system," Gallo told KPIX 5.

The city council approved joining the countywide radio system in 2014, but the full transition has not yet been made.

To make matters worse, during Thursday's radio glitch, the department's computer aided dispatch or CAD, went out for three hours.

Officers and firefighters use the database for addresses, phone numbers and information to respond to calls.  During the outage, dispatchers had to write down incidents on paper.

"That's that Oakland oki-doke way, well if it doesn't work that way, let's do what we did 20 years ago," Gallo said. "And right now other municipalities' law enforcement are not having the same problems the same issues that we have, and so we have to go get it right."

KPIX 5 spoke to the Oakland Police officers association Thursday evening and a spokesperson said switching to the manual system when CAD went down was not a big deal, and it was glad that there was no disruption to service since the radio system went to a backup one.

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