Wireless dead zones, which hampered first responders, may persist two years after tragedy
MGM owns Resorts International and the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Two years after the worst mass shooting in US history, they have agreed to pay up to $800 to settle thousands of lawsuits filed by victims of the tragedy.
On the night of October 1, 2017, gunman opened fire at a crowd of concertgoers from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The shooter was able to continue his rapid-fire assault for more than 10 minutes before police reached his room. Using an arsenal of high-powered weapons on the 32nd floor, 58 people died and more than 850 injured.
The lawsuits sought to hold MGM liable for negligence. The call for negligence was because the shooter was able to enter the hotel and bring his arsenal to the room unhindered. Footage from the hotel’s cameras shows the shooter bringing more than 20 huge bags up to his room over a three- to four-day period.
On the night of the shooting, Las Vegas police responded promptly. Officers on the scene struggled to communicate once they entered the casino due to poor radio coverage. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department later cited Mandalay Bay’s limited radio coverage as the department’s “biggest challenge” that night.
From the Oct. 1 After Action Review Report by the LVMPD:
“While SWAT officers struggled to maintain direct communication, officers inside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino parking garage were similarly frustrated by poor radio reception. It became difficult to hear and transmit over the radio due to inadequate radio coverage inside some hotel properties.”
Such wireless connectivity problems exist in several buildings on the Las Vegas Strip.
“Prior to 2011, Las Vegas hotels were not mandated to have a communications system with public safety frequencies, per fire code. Buildings over five stories tall built before 2011 got grandfathered in. Thus leaving much of the Las Vegas Strip without public safety frequencies. For most buildings along the Vegas Strip constructed before 2011, installing a repeater was optional. Specifically in the 700/800MHz frequency range. This would enable LVMPD and CCFD communications on public safety frequencies in the interior of hotels and parking garages,” the report states.
Since the shooting, Clark County Fire Chief Greg Cassell has worked to ensure safety. Safety, through all Las Vegas Strip properties have adequate radio coverage. In an April 2018 letter, Chief Cassell asked to do radio strength test. High-rise property owners on the Strip conducted radio strength studies to test reception in buildings. Owners of buildings with inadequate coverage had until July 1, 2020 to comply.
It remains unclear if any properties already have achieved adequate radio coverage or are on track to achieve it by the deadline.
Las Vegas Review-Journal: https://www.reviewjournal.com/local/the-strip/after-las-vegas-shooting-radio-dead-zones-still-plague-strip-1859949/
13 Action News Las Vegas: https://www.ktnv.com/news/progress-on-eliminating-radio-dead-zones-one-the-strip-remains-unclear
Full Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department After Action Report here: https://www.lvmpd.com/en-us/Documents/1_October_AAR_Final_06062019.pdf