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A significant portion of Oakland, California’s police radio system failed during President Barack Obama’s visit to the area Monday, leaving the 100 officers assigned to presidential security unable to communicate as protesters swarmed the city, police reported Wednesday. This development has observers concerned, since the President of the United States must be protected at all times, and communications are vital to being able to do this complex job effectively.
“The guys downtown couldn’t talk to one another,” Oakland Police Association head Barry Donelan said. Lt. Fred Mestas, one of the officers on duty during and after the president’s campaign stop at the Fox Theater, called the matter “a train wreck.” Other officers have been heavily critical of the farcical activities of the Oakland Police Department, which has undergone damning budget cuts this year.