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Local Authorities Experience Radio Problems

Emergency dispatchers for the county used alternate means to communicate with local law enforcement Wednesday because of inoperable Verizon T-1 lines.

According to The Times Herald, police and fire departments in Norristown, Plymouth and Whitemarsh had difficulties communicating with Montgomery County dispatchers Wednesday, due to several Verizon T-1 lines that failed and cut off connectivity with four county radio towers.

Verizon was reportedly working on the problem, which county officials say started with a main circuit located in Wayne.

Residents in Montgomery County, in addition to Delaware and Chester counties,  also were reportedly affected with a total loss of telephone and internet service.

"We do know there have not been any bad outcomes because of this, and we are using alternative methods to communicate," Montgomery County Communications Director Frank Custer told the Herald. "Towers from further distances away (were experiencing) degradation in communications, which can be static."

Norristown Police Chief Russell Bono told the Herald the problem started shortly before 11 a.m. Wednesday.

"We are having intermittent radio communications at best," Bono told the Herald. "This is a very dangerous situation for police officers to have intermittent or no communications with dispatch."

Plymouth Ambulance reportedly loaned a handful of radios to the Norristown Police Department to help with the problem.

"They were very generous to give us some of their radios," Bono told the Herald.

West Norriton Police reportedly had similar problems with radios and actually could not make outgoing phone calls from the station Wednesday afternoon. A call from Patch to West Norriton Police Station at 4 p.m. today went through without issue.

A dispatcher with Whitemarsh Police told Patch that radios appeared to be working properly as of 4:45 p.m. and that the department hadn't had any issues since service interruptions around noon. The dispatcher also told Patch that officers were able to switch to their highway channel at that time to communicate properly.

Plymouth Police officer Karen Mabry told Patch that her department had a similar experience, but that officers were able to make radio communications through use of a secondary system.

Verizon was working on the problem as of Wednesday afternoon.

Read more about this story here.

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