The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has implemented a new communications system. The Motorola Solutions PS5 Radio System replaces a system that had technical problems.
Metro Sheriff Joe Lombardo said his officers' lives depend on their radios. He called the old system insufficient and said it put officers in danger.
"As a police officer and a family guy, nobody wants to be put in the situation where you don't have the ability to call for backup," said Officer Matthew Kovacich, a seven-year veteran of the department.
"We really didn't have the ability to put our thumbs specifically on that danger piece until we eventually got into a life or death situation with one of our police officers," Lombardo said.
Lombardo said that recently an officer was chasing a suspect. That officer radioed for backup, but his calls were not received. The officer's body camera recorded the weakness in the department's communications system.
About 5,500 of the new Motorola radios have been distributed to officers. Lombardo said officers can now communicate over the department's 7,500-square-mile jurisdiction. That includes Red Rock Canyon, where service is poor.
"I've been in the casinos up on the 10th floor. I've been in basements of buildings. I've never had a dropped a transmission with it," Kovacich said.
Metro signed a $57.4 million contract with Motorola Solutions in June of 2013. That contract will provide the department with equipment and maintenance for 11 years.
"It's more important to me whether my officers are going to be safe, and each and every one of them say the system works flawlessly," Lombardo said.
Metro will use the old system to transfer data for the time being. The department has filed a lawsuit against Harris Communications over problems with its system.
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