WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH)-- Problems with a new police radio system could be putting officers in danger. That's what the police union in Waterbury is saying about the system that was recently upgraded.
We're talking about a new $4 million radio system, a switch from an analog to a digital system. The city's had the analog system since 1999. Police say there were bound to be problems during the transition and they are being addressed.
Whether there's a fire, or any problem in Waterbury's neighborhoods, if a call comes in, all lines of communication need to be clear.
"You never know when and when you really, really need them, something does happen," said Raymond Ortiz.
People in Waterbury are upset to hear police are having problems with a new radio system.
"They would sometimes sound garbled, you'll hear interference, your reception won't be as clear," said Ortiz.
Acting Deputy Chief Chris Corbett say the primary problem during the switch from analog to digital has been clarity with the radio transmission. One reported issue was an officer tried to use his radio's "panic button," which is used to signal that an officer is in danger, and it didn't work. But he says there's no proof the new system failed. Fortunately, the officer was not hurt.
Corbett says engineers have come in and they're fixing the problems. He says lately there have been very few issues.
"In addition, we also have backup systems in place so if there is a problem with our primary dispatch channel, we can switch to other channels and we also have backups to our dispatch system, both fixed and mobile," said Corbett.
Some ask what's taking so long to get the system to work.
"Technology is advancing everyday," said Ortiz.
But, Corbett says it's not as simple as flipping a switch. This is a citywide radio system going through changes.
"When it's fully operational, the clarity and the reception and also the coverage area will be much greater," said Corbett.
"That's to be seen. That's to be debated. You've gotta compare it to other cities, what systems they have, what amount they spent. Waterbury is not a huge city, but there's a lot of crime and a lot of concern for 911," said Steven King.
Corbett says the system should be fully operational by the end of the month. In the meantime, he says people need not worry, public safety is of course their main priority.
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