FIU, Where Are You?

They said this was the cutting edge...

Thinking they'd save money by opting out of a $250,000 county-wide police radio system, Florida International University administrators this past summer bought an $85,000 Motorola system instead.

For the main campus's 40 cops, it's been all downhill since then, according to an officer who asked to remain anonymous. "(The system) hasn't worked since we got them. It's putting the life of the officers, the students, the faculty in peril."

The radio's spotty coverage, non-secure channel and inability to communicate with other emergency agencies spell disaster, the officer said. Emergency calls have to be routed through the dispatcher, who, in turn, has to dial up ambulances or county police on a phone, wasting precious time. Forget about chasing a stolen car off campus: radio contact usually goes dead within yards of the front gates, the officer said.

Officers' pleas, a December article in the campus newspaper and about $100,000 in repairs haven't altered the situation.

It's time for university leaders to cut losses and look for a better solution, the officer said. "If they don't care about the officers, don't they care about the students?"

A call to FIU's public safety director, Bill King, was not immediately returned. As soon as we hear back from him, we will post his comments here. -Rob Jordan

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