Broward County To Fix Police Radio That Failed During Parkland Shooting
On the day of the shooting, it took four or five attempts for a responding officer to transmit a single piece of information over the radio.
After years of back-and-forth with government agencies, Broward County is finally addressing the district’s 911 and police radio deficiencies that were exposed during the Parkland shooting in 2018.
“I see progress and movement in several areas in Broward County communications that really needed attention,” said Sunrise Police Chief Tony Rosa, representing the Broward County Police Chiefs Association, reports the Sun-Sentinel.
Just two months ago, police and fire chiefs said they didn’t trust the county government to fix the system, but they are now optimistic.
On Feb. 14, 2018, emergency communications malfunctions contributed to the chaotic response by first responders and police when a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
People calling 911 for help were put on hold and transferred and the emergency radio system froze from excessive traffic, causing police officers to communicate with hand signals.
Months after the shooting, the father of a student who was shot and killed, spoke publicly about how Broward County wasn’t doing enough to improve the public safety radio system.
Max Shachter said the county knew in 2016 that its Motorola-operated system needed to be upgraded but never implemented temporary improvements.
Danny Sanchez, a Motorola representative, said the system did not fail but went into “throttling” mode, a safety mode that prevents the system from crashing.
Members of the Stoneman Douglas commission criticized the county for failing to fix the issue, saying it is an urgent public safety priority.
Broward county administrator Bertha Henry said there has been “significant progress,” however, the new communications system will not be up and running until next year.
There has been a discussion amongst the county and city about the location of a new radio tower in Hollywood, one of 16 towers going up as part of the new system.
It has been agreed that the location’s decision will be made off the recommendation of an independent consultant whose report is due on Friday.