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March 24, 2010
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Wis. cop suspended for sending text criticizing radios

Authorities say message tried to initiate protest of new radio system

By PoliceOne Staff

MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee police sergeant was suspended for 20 days without pay for sending a text message that blasted the department’s new digital radio system, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Sgt. Willie O. Murphy sent the text to 33 other supervisors on Sept. 23, urging them to tell cops to stop making traffic stops until the radio system problems have been fixed, according to police documents.

Murphy sent the text when he was off-duty, from his personal cell phone, and a complaint against him says that he sent the message "in an attempt to initiate a protest related to the slow transition to the digital radio system."

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the radio system, known as OpenSky, has cost about $17.5 million and became operational last month, although it has been affected by a lot of faulty equipment, dead spots, and other problems.

In a public statement, Police Chief Edward A. Flynn said that Murphy’s actions were "contrary to the public interest of protecting our community" and that "a supervisor who counsels co-workers to organize an illegal work stoppage is acting against the public interest and seriously jeopardizes public safety."

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