School officers say a majority of their radios don't work inside schools

PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL (WFLX)--Palm Beach County school district police offices say the life line they use to keep your kids safe at school are more like crossed lines.

We're talking about the police radios officers use to communicate with dispatch and each another when there's a problem.

"They are our lifeline," said Sergeant Bill Lammie who is an officer with the Palm Beach County School District Police Department and also serves as the departments union reprehensive. "They are more important that our pepper spray, our fire arm, our hand cuffs and our patrol cars."

According to an arbitration brief filed by the police union 75 percent of officer radios do not work properly inside schools across Palm Beach County.

"That's very disconcerting," said Joel Rose who has a son who attends to Roosevelt Middle School in West Palm Beach.

Even more, officers who patrol Palm Beach County schools say this has been a problem for years.

"I don't know if we have an antiquated system or if it has something to do with the type of system the district has--but it's not working," said Lammie.

We obtained more than 30 emails school officers have sent to their supervisors detailing campus problems that could have been solved safer and faster with properly working radios.

"We've had some of our officers involved in these altercation try to get out for some back up and assistance and the radios aren't working," said John Kazanjian who is the president of the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association.

To fix or replace the radio system would cost between one and three millions dollars.
Officers are asking the school system to pay for it, but they say no way.

A statement released by the Palm Beach County School District said, "our police radios are very effective for our needs and the system is continually being upgraded as needed."

We asked parents what they thought.

"The radio could mean the difference between my kids getting immediate assistance or assistance being delayed, then of course it's a valuable investment," said Rose

School officers say properly working equipment means ensuring kids and teaches stay safe.

"Say we have some type of shots fired or active shooter on campus and the officer can't transmit out on his radio to get help," said Lammie.

Some parents told us they want school officers to have radios they're confident in.

"Stuff happens in a second in the blink of an eye and that's very important that officers have equipment that works," said Jimmy Jenkins whose son attends Roosevelt Middle School.

An arbitrator is currently looking over both side of this issue. A ruling is expected sometime in the next six weeks.