Outside Expert: Don’t Use Technology of Local Radio Consortium
(West Palm Beach, FL) – The City of West Palm Beach will not be using the police radio technology adopted by a multi-city consortium.
Today an outside expert hired by the City of West Palm Beach told Mayor Jeri Muoio and city commissioners he recommends the city not use the technology of the local consortium, and instead adopt a completely different technology.
During a special commission meeting, radio consultant Nick Tusa told city leaders the consortium’s technology was unbalanced, presented safety risks for officers in West Palm Beach, and had inferior performance when communicating with officers inside buildings.
“You can press a button and nothing happens. That’s very concerning.” said Tusa.
Today’s expert opinion is exactly what Mayor Jeri Muoio has said since she was elected.
Despite the city previously spending $5 million dollars on the consortium system, Mayor Muoio continues to support leaving the consortium, which uses technology that experts now agree won’t protect West Palm Beach officers.
“When I became Mayor, I was pretty convinced Open Sky would not work for us because of the density of the buildings,” said Mayor Muoio at today’s meeting. “It has always been a concern of mine that we would continue to work with the consortium.”
West Palm Beach Police Chief Vincent Demasi also expressed serious concerns over the technology being used by the consortium. Chief Demasi said the technology recommended today by the experts is the proven workhorse of the industry, while the consortium’s technology has been prone to failure.
“You get into a life and death struggle with an individual and you’re by yourself, all you have is a radio and sometimes you only get a few seconds,” said Chief Demasi. “Whatever it is you might be trying to relay has to come across clearly so other officers and dispatchers can send help. I simply don’t have that confidence in [the consortium's] system.”
Mayor Muoio’s concerns over remaining in the radio consortium were echoed by some members of the city commission as well.
During the meeting, City Commissioner Sylvia Moffett made a motion to formally remove the city from the consortium. The motion did not receive the support of other members of the commission who said they want to have more discussion before taking that step.
But commissioners were quick to point out their lack of support for leaving the consortium today should not be seen as a vote of confidence for it either.