Not a Good Look: Oakland Police Communications Fail During Visit by President Obama

There are some cities where the budget crisis is so bad that embarrassing things happen in public.  Detroit is the most recent example, where it was determined that it now takes four hours for police to come to your house during a standard call.  Oakland has recently tried to trump Detroit with the most embarrassing police incident of the year.  In what a police commander called a “train wreck,” a major piece of the radio system used to allow officers to communicate shut down during a visit by President Barack Obama. “The guys downtown couldn’t talk to one another,” said Barry Donelan, head of the Oakland Police Officers Association. There was even a time when officers  couldn’t speak to the dispatch center, which means that if Obama had been attacked, they would have been sitting there like lame ducks. “That lasted about 30 minutes,” Mestas said. “When you have the president there, 30 seconds is too long.” After the president left, the situation only continued to get worse.  Oakland is currently dealing with massive protests, with streets being blocked and protesters everywhere. “Any radio failure puts officers at risk, but this was a critical situation to provide safety and security for the president and the public,” said Donelan. Pleasant Hill Police Chief Pete Dunbar, a former Oakland Police officer, said this: “When you have the president of the United States in town and your system goes down,” he said, “you wonder what could happen next.”

Dunbar went on to describe the clear and present danger of having a sitting US president without proper protection in any city or situation. “These stories (about failures) go on and on. But for the grace of God, nobody has gotten hurt. But if you keep this up, it’s just a matter of time.”

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