by David Mendez
A stunning report Department of Homeland Security report, uncovered by ProPublica.org, has turned out news that Homeland Security employees nationwide have not been trained in how to properly communicate with each other via radios that are supposed to be tuned to a particular, common channel.
Somehow, that isn't a surprise. What is, however, is the fact that the program to introduce these radios and their common frequency has cost more than $430 million since its inception nine years ago.
Only one of 479 DHS employees surveyed by the inspector general’s office was actually able to use the common channel, according to the report. Most of those surveyed — 72 percent — didn’t even know the common channel existed. Another 25 percent knew the channel existed but weren’t able to find it; 3 percent were able to find an older common channel, but not the current one.
The investigators also found that more than half of the radios did not have the settings for the common channel programmed into them. Only 20 percent of radios tested had all the correct settings.
The radios are supposed to help employees of Customs and Border Patrol, the Transportation Security Administration, the Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Secret Service, and other agencies with DHS communicate during crises, as well as normal operations.
You can read the report from the DHS Inspector General for yourself here.