A Los Angeles City Councilman on Thursday urged the city’s General Services chief to step down in the wake of two recent failures of LA’s radio dispatch system that could have put lives in danger.
Power went out to the city’s radio communications system on Wednesday during a test of a backup generator atop Mount Lee in Griffith Park, cutting power for 12 hours. The failure comes on top of a breakdown that occurred in the San Fernando Valley on Saturday, said Councilman Mitch Englander.
The news comes as the Los Angeles Fire Department last month complained of problems with its communications systems.
“I’m furious,” said Engander, who is a reserve LAPD officer and chairman of the city’s Public Safety Committee. “This is a serious breach of security. If something had happened, if people were hurt, injured or killed, everybody else would looking to hold somebody accountable.”
“This brings everything up to a whole nother level.”
Englander made a motion Wednesday in a City Council meeting, calling for an investigation into what happened with the recent failure and calling on Tony Royster, the general manager of the General Services, which is responsible for the city’s communications systems, to step down.
Royster did not return a call seeking comment.
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LAPD spokesman Lt. Andy Neiman said despite the system blackout, all 911 calls were handled in a timely manner, but the department’s backup plan using phone landlines and dispatchers wasn’t ideal.
“It puts additional stress in terms of additional resources,” he said, adding that it took two people to do the job of one person and that each division was assigned to staff the phone. “I haven’t heard of a failure like this in a long time that affected the entire communications center.”