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Oakland Police Radios Failed During President’s Visit

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OAKLAND (CBS/AP) — A major portion of Oakland’s year-old police radio system failed during President Barack Obama’s visit to the city this week, in one what one lieutenant described as a “train wreck.”

Many of the 100 Oakland officers assigned to handle presidential security were unable to communicate with the Police Department dispatch center for a time during Monday’s presidential fundraiser at the Fox Theater.

Lt. Fred Mestas said that lasted about 30 minutes. He called the situation a “train wreck.”

The radios failed altogether shortly after the president left.

The officers were unable to communicate as protesters roamed Oakland streets.

The failure was blamed on an overheated cooling unit in the Oakland hills. The cooling unit was replaced Tuesday.

The radio system has been plagued by breakdowns and dead zones that have left officers’ digital radios prone to blackouts across the city and in most commercial buildings.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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