Nebraska troopers union to delay formal complaint over radio system -
Published Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 1:04 am
Nebraska troopers union to delay formal complaint over radio system

LINCOLN — The union that represents Nebraska state troopers agreed Tuesday to postpone its formal complaint about the state's troubled emergency radio system in an attempt to informally work out a solution with the state.

A representative of the State Troopers Association of Nebraska (STAN) said that troopers still lack confidence in the $17.3 million system but are willing to explore if it can be fixed and not replaced.

“We don't have any confidence in it at all,” said Gary Young, a Lincoln attorney representing the union. “We may be persuaded ... we're willing to listen.”

The agreement, which puts the formal grievance on hold for 90 days, is the latest development in a story first reported by The World-Herald in December.

The higher-tech, more complicated radio system, which became operational last summer after a two-year rollout, sparked more than 480 “problem reports” during a nine-month period last year.

It has failed during at least three dangerous confrontations in which law enforcement officers were wounded or injured, blocking or delaying calls for assistance.

Six weeks ago, the troopers' union filed a formal labor grievance with the Nebraska State Patrol, alleging that its members were put in jeopardy because of “numerous” radio system failures. That, the union said, violated a clause in its labor contract prohibiting “unsafe equipment” that is “not in proper working condition.”

Col. David Sankey, superintendent of the State Patrol, rejected the allegations. He has said the new system markedly improved radio coverage across the state, though he was also seeking to improve its reliability.

The troopers union faced a Tuesday deadline to ask an arbitrator to look into its complaint. The union and state agreed to put off any action pending discussions over the next 90 days.

When asked to comment, State Patrol spokeswoman Deb Collins reissued a statement from last week: “The patrol is working with STAN to continue a dialogue on issues or concerns surrounding the statewide radio system.”

Young, the union's attorney, said the agreement means union members will have “a place at the table” in seeking improvements to the radio system. Union members will be able to talk to technicians with the state and Motorola, the state's radio contractor, about the system's capabilities, infrastructure and problems.

Union members will now attend regular meetings of the system's users, which include the Nebraska Public Power District, State Fire Marshal's Office and Nebraska Emergency Management Agency. Previously, the State Patrol had representatives at the meetings, but not the union.

“The goal,” he said, “is to have a safe radio system for the members of the patrol. By getting us involved in the process in a tangible way, we feel we'll have a chance at that.”

Contact the writer: 402-473-9584,

Contact the writer: Paul Hammel    |   402-473-9584    |  

Paul covers state government and affiliated issues and helps coordinate the same.

Iowa State servers hacked, nearly 30,000 SSNs at risk
New public employee pay data: Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy Counties, plus utilities
2nd District House race: After 8 terms, Lee Terry knows how D.C. works — and doesn't
Bellevue man is killed at Minnesota dance hall after South Sudanese basketball tourney
Spring corn planting still sputters in Nebraska, Iowa, other key states
Nebraska banking and finance director to retire
19-year-old killed in one-vehicle crash at 72nd & Shirley
Gov. Heineman vetoes bill to ease restrictions on nurse practitioners
U.S. Senate race: State Auditor Mike Foley defends Shane Osborn against ad campaign
Public defender to represent Nikko Jenkins in sentencing
Mid-America Center on track for lower operating loss
Bluffs City Council approves dozens of new numbered street lights
National Law Enforcement Memorial Week set for May
Lori Jenkins, charged as accessory in 4 murders, waives speedy trial
Ted Cruz backs Pete Ricketts' campaign for governor
Omahan charged with 5th-offense DUI after street race causes rollover
2 blocks of Grover Street closed
Safety board report blames pilot error in 2013 crash that killed UNO student, passenger
Omaha man accused in shooting ordered held on $75,000 bail
2 men charged with conspiracy to distribute meth held on $1 million bail each
Waitress who served alcohol to teen before fatal crash gets jail time, probation
La Vista plans meeting on sales tax proposal, 84th Street redevelopment
6-mile stretch of Highway 75 is the road not taken
Database: How much did Medicare pay your doctor?
Millard school board bans e-cigarettes from all district properties, events
< >
Breaking Brad: Into the claw machine! Florida kid follows Lincoln kid's lead
In Fort Lauderdale, Fla., a child climbed inside a claw machine. Hey, Florida kid: Nobody likes a copycat.
Breaking Brad: Even Chuck Hassebrook's throwing mud!
The Nebraska campaigns have turned so ugly, Democrat Chuck Hassebrook lobbed unfounded accusations at an imaginary opponent.
Breaking Brad: Kraft wiener recall is business opportunity for TD Ameritrade Park
Instead of returning the wieners, TD Ameritrade Park is calling them "cheese dogs" and charging double.
Breaking Brad: Photos with the Easter Bunny are so 2010
In a sign of the times, most kids ran out of patience waiting for a photo with the Easter Bunny at the mall, just snapped a selfie and went home.
Kelly: 70 years after a deadly D-Day rehearsal, Omahan, WWII vet will return to Europe
A World War II veteran from Omaha will return this week to Europe to commemorate a tragedy in the run-up to D-Day.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Steam-A-Way Carpet Cleaning
$50 for 3 rooms and a Hallway up to 600 square feet
Buy Now
< >
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »