Metro Police Closer to Getting New Radio System - 8 News NOW

Metro Police Closer to Getting New Radio System

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LAS VEGAS -- Barely two years after spending $42 million on a new radio system, the Metropolitan Police Department is now shopping for a replacement. 

Metro wants to replace the faulty radio communications system known as Desert Sky. On Monday, the department approved hiring an engineering firm and a law firm to consult in the building of the new system. 

Improving radio transmissions won't come cheap for the financially plagued police department but police officials say they need a more reliable and safe system.

"Our cops are having a hard time hearing each other out there in the field," said Metro Sgt. John Sheehan.

Metro is considering the P25 radio system. It promises fewer drop calls and garbled communication -- problems officers say they encounter on a regular basis.

"I think before we move forward, you got to find out what mistakes we made last time so we don't repeat the same mistakes," Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak said.

The department paid $42 million for the Desert Sky system. A new system could cost between $25 million to $100 million, police said.

"We are facing a $40 million to $50 million deficit at Metro. This will only add to the shortfall that exists, so it's something we look at it very closely," Sisolak said.

Money is one battle, public safety is another. There are questions whether the faulty radio system is to blame for the officer involved shooting of unarmed Gulf War veteran, Stanley Gibson, last year.

Las Vegas Councilman Ricky Barlow said reliable communication technology is critical to protect both officers and everyday citizens.

"Then it's worth putting in the appropriate investment to make sure that we have a flawless system," Barlow said.

Metro is hoping to have a contract with a vendor ready for review by January or February 2013. 

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