BEND, OR -- Deschutes County's new $3 million police radio system has not worked properly since it was upgraded in July and some say it's putting officers' lives at risk. Deschutes County 911 Director Steve Reinke says there were initially a few glitches that the system's manufacturer failed to fix, and the radio's performance got progressively worse over time. "It's really become absolutely our top priority ever since we realized that the system's performing poorly. Missed transmissions, garbled transmissions, the audio level variations are causing a lot of problems for folks in the field. We finally had to get to the point where the police unions, and rightfully so, said, 'we got to get this going'."
The unions filed a complaint, which Reinke says prompted manufacturer Harris to send a team to troubleshoot the issues, "That team started to look at all our settings and they realized that some of the settings programed into our system were not correct," says Reinke. "The system wasn't configured properly for the way it was supposed to function. And so, we have been working for the last month or so, especially the last three weeks, to audit the entire system to see what settings are supposed to be in the system, and to start making those changes." He tells KBND News there's a 25-item punch list the team is working through. "We can't emphasize enough that there's no higher priority for us than being able to communicate with field folks, and for them to have confidence in the radio system. We are optimistic that they're going to make the system better, and we're hoping that that's going to be accomplished within the next two weeks."