Oakland, Piedmont Shut Out of Mutual Aid Radio Access

A long-standing rift between the City of Oakland and a regional agency that covers Alameda and Contra Costa counties could threaten communications among first responders in mutual aid situations.

A long-simmering dispute between the City of Oakland and the  East Bay Regional Communications System Authority — which covers Alameda and Contra Costa counties — threatens to keep Oakland's first responders shut out of the main channel that public safety agencies use to communicate with one another during emergency mutual aid operations.

The problem would appear to affect the City of Piedmont as well, since Piedmont's police radio system is linked to Oakland's.

The dispute and its effects are detailed in this article in the Oakland Tribune.

Oakland opted out of the regional system a decade ago and instead used federal grant money to upgrade its own emergency communications system, the Tribune says.

Now Oakland is considering whether to participate in the two-county network — but is being blocked by other member agencies that want Oakland to pay $800,000 to join and nearly $1.5 million in annual maintenance costs.

The regional network bcame operational in the Oakland area late last year.

Oakland needs to learn how to be a team player, said Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, a member of the regional agency's board. Haggerty represents Fremont, Livermore and a large swathe of eastern Alameda County on the board of supervisors.

He told the Tribune that "people get a little bit offended" by Oakland's attitutde that "they can do something better when they don't have the capacity to do it."

You may read the complete Tribune article here.

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