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Group Releases Milwaukee PD Records Showing Problems with Open-Sky


MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WTAQ) - A watchdog group in Milwaukee released 500 pages of police records Thursday, explaining problems officers have had with a new digital radio system.

The Open-Sky system prevents the general public and reporters from hearing police radio transmissions. But according to the Citizens for Responsible Government, there are places where officers cannot hear the radio calls, either, due to dead spots and equipment trouble.

Alderman Bob Donovan along with police and fire union leaders joined the citizens’ group in accusing city leaders of not adequately addressing the problem.

The $18 million system was supposed to go online in 2005, but it was not fully operational until February. The citizens’ group said problems were documented as recently as May, putting officers in jeopardy through a lack of communication.

But Police Chief Ed Flynn and Alderman Michael Murphy accused the citizens’ group of having political motives – and they explained how the city has improved the system. Murphy said the group was trying to hurt Mayor Tom Barrett’s Democratic bid for Wisconsin governor.

Citizens’ group Chris Kleismet denied it. He said they’re only pointing out the safety problems. And he said the issue is only as political as the politicians want to make it.

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Fire Department and other city agencies are about to join police in using the Open-Sky system.