Hearing: Terror attack showed need for secure radio, vests

AP News
Posted: Mar 19, 2016 12:01 AM
Hearing: Terror attack showed need for secure radio, vests

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — When emergency responders descended on the site of the Southern California terror attack that killed 14 people, their scanner communications were broadcast live on the Internet, creating potential danger for them, state lawmakers were told.

Police, fire and medical personnel lauded interagency working relationships during a state legislative hearing convened Friday to learn what worked in the hours after a husband and wife inspired by Islamic extremists opened fire on a luncheon for county health inspectors.

But they said officers from diverse agencies must be able to communicate safely without worrying about details of a crime being on a live feed.

"Our radio traffic was playing out in real time across the nation," said San Bernardino police Lt. Michael Madden said. "That is an extremely precarious situation for first-responders."

His comments came at a hearing of a joint legislative committee on emergency management called by state Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez, D-Chino.

A similar hearing was held by the committee after the 2013 shooting death of a Transportation Security Administration worker at Los Angeles International Airport. Lessons learned from that meeting prodded state lawmakers to pass legislation requiring agencies to cooperate on active-shooter training, Rodriguez said.

Since the Dec. 2 San Bernardino shootings, law enforcement and medical personnel have been evaluating how they responded when Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, carried out the deadliest terror strike on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.

Banning Straws
John Stossel

The 14 people killed and 22 wounded were mainly Farook's colleagues from the San Bernardino County public health department.

Farook and Malik died hours later in a shootout with police on a busy street in San Bernardino.

At the hearing, David Molloy, operations manager of private ambulance company American Medical Response, said he was concerned medical responders were sent to an active shooting without helmets or safety vests.

"What would have happened if they would have come back to the scene, or the triage area, and my folks were not protected?" he said, urging those protections be made required equipment.