Cincinnati to Motorola: Replace police radios within 30 days

City demanding changes to police radios

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Ongoing communication issues with Cincinnati police officer's radios have not been resolved, and now the city is demanding changes.

"We need to be able to be safe, and when we're safe and feel confidence in our safety, then we can better serve the public," said Sgt. Dan Hils, president of the police union.

City Manager Harry Black said Thursday he's sending a letter that radio provider Motorola must provide reliable communication as promised, including providing replacement radios within 30 days.

"I think it's time we got serious with Motorola and that they replace the radios so that we have absolutely the most reliable equipment possible out on the streets," Hils said.

City leaders want change, and Black's memo Thursday demands just that from the radio provider Motorola.

"The city manager has taken a very firm tone with Motorola. I salute that," Hils said.

Black said that while the police have been in frequent communication with Motorola, he's still waiting for sufficient results.

A Motorola spokesperson told FOX19 NOW they are working closely with CPD to resolve the issues to meet the department's expectations.

The city plans to enforce legal terms of the contract with Motorola as needed.

Problems with the police radios began almost as soon as they went into use earlier this year, according to Hils.

The new 1,500 radios hit the streets in July. They cost the city more than $5 million.

"Many officers are not impressed with general quality of the radios, and then we've had isolated incidents where there's almost been a complete failure when we're at the worst times for it," Hils said.

One of those times, Hils said, was during Riverfest in September when a shooting happened near the river around the time of the fireworks

Earlier this month, Hils announced on the police union Facebook page he instructed the organization's lawyer to look into suing Motorola.

Motorola released the following statement:

Motorola Solutions has been working closely with the Cincinnati Police Department (CPD) to implement programming changes to their APX 6000 portable radios so they more closely emulate the audio capabilities and functionality of the XTS 5000 radio CPD used for many years. We are also exploring with CPD the possibility of implementing a speaker microphone that also more closely emulates the functionality of their previous device.

Motorola Solutions remains committed to working with CPD until the functionality of their communications meets CPD's expectations. Over the last month, Motorola Solutions has conducted onsite audio tests and weekly meetings with CPD, along with providing training materials to help officers better understand the operational differences of the new equipment.

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