The most common terms appearing in justice/public safety and homeland security solicitations during April were fire alarm and alerting, camera/surveillance and radio. The below word cloud provides a visual interpretation of key term frequency.
- Number of Public Safety Bids: 1,400
- Top three states (by number of solicitations released): California (175), New York (95) and Pennsylvania (75)
- Top three keywords: fire alarm and alerting, camera/surveillance and radio
Frequency of terms:
- Radio: 8 (4 state, 11 local)
- 911: 1 (3 state, 1 local)
- Computer Aided Dispatch (1 state, 3 local)
- Records Management System (1 state, 2 local)
Like March, April was a slow month for justice and public safety (JPS) procurements; and while numerous solicitations were released, there seemed to be little movement on projects in the early development stages. Many governments are waiting on funding to move forward with projects, and agencies widely differ in their approaches to how much work they put into a project prior to securing funds.
While some states are hesitant to spend a lot of time planning and developing specifications for projects that may never receive funding, others like Georgia work to have a nearly completed plan in place so that a project can move forward quickly once funding is secured. Vendors should be aware of these different approaches and have patience with governments that are unwilling to spend large amounts of time consulting with vendors early on.
Many governments further along in project planning took big steps in April by releasing RFPs or RFIs, many of which were large in scale. Waukesha County, Wis., released an RFP for a trunked radio system while Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska, released one for a new 911 system. These major projects, which have been in the works for several years, are likely to be among the most expensive these entities will undertake for some time.
Numerous entities also released solicitations for smaller projects, such as Cook County, Illinois’ inmate telephone audit and the Florida Department of Corrections’ inmate telephone system. Given the fact that inmate phone systems tend to be paid for by users rather than the government, these projects often require less lead time; therefore, vendors would be wise to contact project managers sooner than later to share their expertise before a solicitation is released.
Vendors should gear up for a couple busy months as late spring and early summer tend to be extremely active for projects before the summer lull strikes in July and August, which tend to be slow due to vacations and scrambles to cover holidaying colleagues. For entities with July budgets, these months also act as planning weeks when solicitations and projects are worked on behind the scenes as agencies decide what to do with their funding. Many states and localities are also waiting to find out if they have received money from grant applications submitted in spring, such as the Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program, for which applications are due May 30, 2013. Therefore, vendors should work particularly hard in the next few months to identify and make connections for projects that may be waiting on money from grants and the next budget cycle.
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