New radio system causes major issues for Columbia, Ill Police - KMOV.com

New radio system causes major issues for Columbia, Ill Police

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

(KMOV) -- Officers in Columbia, Illinois are facing issues with a new police radio system that was recently put in place.

Columbia Police Officers can’t reach police dispatch when they go inside a building and officials say the repair could take a few more weeks.

Police Chief Joe Edwards had a hard time reaching the dispatch while he stood in the front lobby of the police department.

911 first responders across the country started getting the new radio systems which allowed for universal communication. The tower Columbia PD uses is about 12 miles south in Waterloo.

Edwards said early test were no problem until officers started using it on a daily basis. The problem extends across the nine square miles that make up Colombia.

“In the city of Columbia we started to experience a problem with it because of the topography of Columbia, we sit kind of in a bowl, down in a bluff.”

The problem came to a head in late June when an officer responded to a home where 17-year-old Erin Schneider was stabbed to death.

He didn’t know if the suspect was still in the house or not, he tried twice to call for assistance with no luck and had to go outside.

Edwards says Motorola has stepped up and engineers are looking at how to fix it.

One solution is to install a $300,000 antenna on the tower at the Columbia Police Department.  Motorola will pay for it but that wouldn’t happen until October.

The chief says in the meantime, officers will be using the department’s old radios in addition to the news radios when they respond to a call if they have to go inside a building, apartment or home.

 

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