Here is another article that shows that batteries died and they could hear but not transmit. If the building was causing the interference then
wouldn't both transmitting and recieving being affected?
By KATE BRANNEN | 9/19/13 6:24 PM EDT
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, according to sources who were on the scene.
Making matters worse, the radio problems were known long before, and the Navy had done little to solve them, complained Gregory Russell, who
represents federal firefighters in Washington., Maryland and Virginia as president of the National Capital Professional Federal Fire Fighters Local
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.
At the Navy Yard – where a dozen civilians and the suspected shooter, Aaron Alexis, died – Navy police officers who first responded to the
shooting and exchanged fire with the gunman had to use their cell phones following the first shootout because their radios were not working inside
Building 197, where the shooter was on a rampage, said Sgt. Anthony Meely, chairman of the labor union for the Naval District Washington Police.
Meely was not on the base when the shooting began, but drove there after receiving a call and joined other law enforcement officers as they searched
for additional shooters.
Since Monday, Meely has talked to the Navy Yard policemen – all federal civilian employees — who were the very first ones to respond to Building
197. And he said he found that, while the officers could hear communications, they couldn’t respond via radio and so used their personal cell phones
instead, including the Navy Yard Police Chief Mike McKinney.
One officer’s radio battery died, even though it was early in the officer’s shift, Meely said.
Even if the radios had been working properly, the police officers could not use them to communicate with the Metropolitan Police Department, Meely
said. For that, the Navy Yard police had to use their cell phones.
The Navy Yard firemen, who responded to the shooting, suffered similar problems, according to several sources.
Responding to the complaints, a Navy official told POLITICO: “We are aware of the local chapter’s claims, and they will be looked into as part of
the review” of security ordered by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.
The office of Washington Mayor Vincent Gray did respond to a request for comment Thursday.
According to Russell, a battalion commander at the Navy Yard firehouse, Kevin Grinder, set up an incident command post inside a building a few doors
down from Building 197.
Inside that building, Grinder could not communicate with fire fighters and police officers outside without using a runner, who would go into the
hallway to send and receive messages, according to a fire official familiar with the Navy Yard radio system who asked not to be identified.
Going out into the hallway only took a few seconds, but relaying messages back inside the room ate up valuable time, the official said.
Inside Building 197, where the gunman was still at large, the fire alarm had been pulled. And according to the fire official, fire fighters had to go
into the building to silence the fire alarm because it was interfering with radio transmissions.
“This is not normal,” the fire official said, and it put first responders in even more danger. “These radios are not compatible for the fire and
police services,” the official said.
These transmission problems happen “quite a bit,” going back “a couple of years.”
A huge problem is that when the radios fail, fire fighters and police officers have to switch to a conventional channel and lose their emergency
identification capability, the fire official said, and “firemen are put in harm’s way.”
And the radios, Meely said, were not the only hurdle the Navy Yard police force faced on Monday.
There were not enough officers on duty, he said, and the lack of patrol cars meant officers had to run up to a half mile to reach Building 197.
The lack of resources, he said, was a “direct reflection of the failure of management as it relates to security.”
Stephen DeNigris, an attorney who has represented the police union at the Navy Yard for the past 15 years, said the problems have been ongoing.
The Navy Yard police officers he talked to this week also shared stories of dead radios or radios that couldn’t transmit.
“It’s a nightmare,” he said, adding that past complaints have “fallen on deaf ears because military commanders do not grasp the concept of
civilian law enforcement.”
Read more: www.politico.com...