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Why Oakland’s Two Way Radios Failed Obama

In 2011, Oakland invested $18 million in a high-tech two way radio system and the city’s administration was mighty proud of this investment. The administrators knew it would help enhance safety and security in the city.

Cut to 2012.
President Obama was to arrive in Oakland on 25 July 2012 to address a rally at the Fox Theater. The city was all expectant and excited that the President was coming in.

They did not want to leave anything to chance – after all, it was the President they were hosting.

The city’s administrative functions were tightened and the bureaucratic machinery was adequately oiled to ensure nothing went wrong. Security was doubly beefed up and the administration was sure that their spanking new two way radios would help maintain law and order. The city’s administration wanted to be extra careful because protestors were ganging up to disrupt proceedings.

Well, judgment day arrived and so did Obama. The Fox Theater was packed to its gills. The crowds thronged the streets and so did the protestors.

Then it happened.
Oakland’s two way radios started choking up. Police officers could not communicate on their radios, and there was chaos. The officers somehow got together and managed to control the event.

But the city’s administrators were perplexed.

How and why did the two way radios fail?
Was it a planned interference? Was the equipment faulty? Did President Obama radiate too many electromagnetic waves?

The city got down to investigate the whodunit. After four suspense-filled days during which many accusations were hurled – with a prominent officer blaming a cooling system breakdown – it was discovered that the radios did not perform because there were too many AT&T’s cellular phone towers around.

The claim was verified as correct by the FCC. AT&T has now suspended services at 16 of its radio-interfering cellular sites.

Oakland should actually thank Obama for dropping by.

This is because the city’s radio system was hit by glitches right from the start. But the investigation into the cause started after the radios did not perform when an important dignitary dropped by.

Well, there are two morals here for all of us:

  1. Waves from two way radios do not vibe with cellular waves.
  2. We must communicate and kill the slightest of problems right at its inception, without waiting for it to be iscovered, especially at a mega event. Can you imagine what would have happened if any unfortunate incident had taken place in Oakland on that important day?

Over and out. Over to you.


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