By Anna Duckworth

OAKLAND (KCBS) _ After months of problems with its radio communications, the Oakland Police Department is rolling out an entirely new system that will make Oakland one of the first Bay Area cities to be interoperable with other agencies.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

The transition began this past Saturday when the department started testing three of its 14 radio channels that received new antennae.

“We are coming online with a new radio system,” said Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts. “As you know, earlier this year that was a problem within the organization. We had some radio concerns, or radio problems.”

There were several instances in January and February when Oakland police radios failed, including during part of a pursuit that ended in an officer-involved shooting. Deputy Chief Howard Jordan said that’s because the system, which was put in place in 1994, was overloaded.

“I remember that 17 years ago we didn’t have that many people talking on our system,” said Jordan. “We have since increased the number of people using that system, including people from other agencies such as BART, the Housing Authority, school police and other agencies that have been able to log on to our system.”

The new system, which is paid for mostly through federal grants, is compliant with national radio communications standards borne out of the 9/11 attacks because it allows communication between separate emergency responder agencies.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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