NYPD street officers are carrying radios that don’t work in the subway, making it impossible to call for help. The city has spent 15 years and millions of dollars trying to resolve the problem, but it’s still unclear when it might be fixed.
“Not being to communicate in this day and age is ludicrous,” said Nicholas Casale, a retired NYPD detective and the MTA’s former Deputy Director of Security for Counterterrorism. He pointed to Madrid and London as examples of transit hubs increasingly becoming terrorism targets.
In NYC, transit police can radio one another, but they can’t talk to street-level officers, who use a different frequency. To bridge the communication divide, the MTA and NYPD agreed in the mid-1990s to create a uniform radio network in the subway using above-ground frequencies.
But after spending $144 million in transit funds, only an FDNY network has been established.
The multiple police frequencies technically are trickier to resolve, and the project has been beset with numerous technical issues, mainly audio interference, experts said.
The NYPD, the Transit Authority and City Hall have deflected responsibility. The mayor’s office referred requests for comments to the NYPD, which in turn directed questions to the MTA.