The Takoma Park City Council last week passed emergency legislation allocating $6,000 for repairs to the city police radio system, which police say has fallen into disrepair while a new manufactuer is being sought.
The city cannot contract with some companies because of provisions in its nuclear-free zone regulation. The regulation stipulates that city contractors must not be tied to the manufacturing of nuclear weapons.
The only companies that responded to a city request for bids on the radio system two months ago were General Electric and Motorola, both of which are nuclear weapons contractors.
Meanwhile, officers have complained that their radios often do not work at all, city officials said. The new allocation will be used for temporary repairs and maintenance while police wait for a new radio system. City officials said this week that they believe they can find a radio manufacturer who does not make nuclear weapons.
The city is still waiting for federal authorities to designate new radio bands for the police force, which will be necessary before new equipment can be used.
City administrator James S. Wilson Jr. said that the current radio system has not been properly maintained or managed and that it should have been replaced four or five years ago. He said a recent survey by a consultant revealed that the police department has 12 working hand-held radios and three that do not work, and it is missing two.
Wilson said the police have 10 radios in cars, all of which were improperly installed, some by private contractors and some by the city's public works department. One car was considered a fire hazard as a result, he said, and the antenna on one new police car was the wrong type and did not work at all.