Radios of Navy First Responders to Shooting Didn’t Work; “It’s a Nightmare”


It sounds like 9/11 all over again, but Politico reports that first responders from the Navy's own fire and police departments had such trouble communicating with their radios during the deadly shooting chaos Monday at the Washington Navy Yard that they had to resort to personal cell phones and runners. The radio problems were known long before, and the Navy had done little to solve them, complained Gregory Russell, a union representative for federal firefighters in Washington.

“Our problems have been known for five or six years, and no one fixes it,” said Russell, who provided numerous reports of Navy Yard fire firefighters complaining of radio problems. It's a problem reminiscent of the communication troubles that hampered fire fighters and other first responders to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Stephen DeNigris, an attorney who has represented the police union at the Navy Yard for the past 15 years, said, “It's a nightmare,” adding that past complaints have “fallen on deaf ears because military commanders do not grasp the concept of civilian law enforcement.”

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