Faulty police radios endangering officers' lives, local FOP president says

Posted at 6:30 PM, May 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-16 09:49:44-04

CINCINNATI -- The Motorola radios on which Cincinnati police depend to communicate are worse than unreliable, said local Fraternal Order of Police president Sgt. Dan Hils. According to him, they malfunction every single day.

"You can't hear everybody as well as you used to be able to," he said. "One of the officers I know in District 3 had been in a foot pursuit. He was pushing the button, he was trying to say something, but it was garbled and it wasn't transmitting at all."

Hils has been concerned about the radios since the department purchased them in 2016. He's now leading a push for families of Cincinnati officers to speak out about what they believe are subpar radios that endanger both police and civilians when they impede communication between officers. 

If you follow Cincinnati police officers or their family members on Facebook, you might have seen part of this effort already: Children holding signs with messages such as, "Please fix this, Motorola! Our daddy's life depends on it!"

According to tweets posted by Officer Kyle Strunk, the FOP hopes to get Motorola's attention with these messages and hopefully spur either a repair or replacement process for the faulty radios. In the meantime, Hils said officers are being asked to document every instance of a malfunction in order to illustrate the scale of the problem.

"It’s very personal for families that equipment isn’t working the best that it could or should for their family members who are out there doing a tough job and a job that could be dangerous," Hils said.

Motorola provided WCPO with the following statement:

"Motorola Solutions and the Cincinnati Police Department (CPD) continue to work closely together to ensure new remote speaker microphones (RSM) more closely emulate the audio capabilities and functionality that CPD has been used to for many years. CPD’s radios were deployed last summer and a small number have already been reprogrammed to optimize audio and functionality capability with the RSMs. Motorola Solutions stands ready to quickly reprogram the remaining fleet of radios to work with the new RSMs as soon as CPD indicates its preferred timing to move forward with this software deployment."