dstates writes "For most of Friday, police and firefighters in Detroit were forced to operate without their usual dispatch radio when the emergency dispatch system failed. The radio system used for communication between 911 dispatchers and Detroit's police, fire and EMS crews went down around 5:30 a.m. Friday morning, causing a backlog of hundreds of calls and putting public safety at risk. Michigan State Police allowed Detroit's emergency system to use the state's communication towers, but access was restricted to top priority calls out of fear of overloading the State system. More than 60 priority-1 calls and more than 170 non-emergency calls were backed up. With no dispatch to communicate if something went wrong and backup was needed, police were forced to send officers out in pairs for safety concerns on priority-1 calls. Detroit's new police chief, James Craig, says he's 'appalled' that a redundant system did not kick in. The outage occurred only days after Craig took office. The $131 million Motorola system was installed in 2005 amid controversy over its funding. Spokesmen for Motorola said parts of the system were regularly maintained but acknowledged that backup systems had not been tested in the past two years. They said the problem was a hardware glitch in the link between dispatch and the individual radios. As of 9 p.m. Friday, a Motorola spokesman said the system was stable and the company would continue troubleshooting next week."
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