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A look at the Justice/Public Safety and Homeland Security market for the month of July

The month of July saw an increase in activity within the Justice/Public Safety and Homeland Security technology market. This activity was in part due to new and increased efforts to safeguard the American people. The United States Senate, along with the Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, moved forward on two fronts that address security within our borders and within our prison systems. The first was the effort taken by the Senate to discuss the issue of cell phone contraband being found and used within prisons across the country. GovWin reported on this hearing earlier in the month in which witnesses testified on their thoughts surrounding the use of cell phone jamming equipment. A proposed Senate bill, S251, aims at amending the Communications Act of 1934 to permit targeted interference with mobile radio services within prison facilities. If passed, prisons would be allowed to jam cell phone usage in and around prison facilities. Currently there are 26 states who have signed a petition to allow the use of this type of technology. As this bill makes its way through congress, GovWin will be keeping an eye on any new developments through our existing opportunities for this type of technology.

Not only did the Senate hold a hearing on cell phone jamming, but it also held its second important hearing this month on the new plans to reform REAL ID and replace it with PASS ID. The major concern over the last 3 years regarding the implementation of REAL ID is the price tag. The implementation of REAL ID measures has proven to have great financial effects on the already deficit-ridden budgets of states. In order to comply with REAL ID, many states have or are in the process of implementing multi-million dollar drivers licensing and credentialing systems. The goal of PASS ID is to reduce the costs to states and remove some of the most contentious portions of the REAL ID requirements, such as inflexible electronic document verification, cost, and re-enrollment systems. Changes are already being noticed as the District of Columbia's Department of Motor Vehicles recently delayed the release of an RFP for a new driver's license credentialing system in order to add potential provisions for PASS ID. Political backing of PASS ID is prevalent in the continued support expressed by Secretary Napolitano. GovWin will continue to monitor the developments of the REAL ID vs. PASS ID saga and will report on any changes within existing driver's license contracts and future planned contracts.

The month of July saw many people in congress and officials at the state and local level getting restless as they await word on if their projects will receive economic stimulus funds. As of today, there has been no word on public safety and homeland security funding awards for localities through the economic stimulus package. The reason for this is mostly due to the timelines associated with most of the economic stimulus grants. Applications for grant funding were mostly due in the middle to end of June. GovWin estimates that award information will begin to pick up in August as the stimulus funding award timelines hint at August-October.

Not only did a lot of action take place at the Federal level for the Justice/Public Safety and Homeland Security market, but localities saw a steady level of contract awards. For example, Motorola is currently negotiating a contract with Dane County, Wisconsin for a roughly $34 million VHF 700/800 MHz Digital Trunked Radio System. Twenty First Century Communications recently was awarded a 5-year $1.5 million contract with Los Angeles County, California for an Automatic Mass Notification System. Rocky Mountain Offender Management System LLC was awarded a $1.64 million contract with the Colorado Department of Corrections for Offender Electronic Monitoring.

Not only was money flowing out of agencies through contracts, but agencies are continuing to save money and look for ways of opening up funds for a variety of new projects. Harris County, Texas will be looking at a Security System for the Houston Ship Channel. Montgomery County, Virginia along with a consortium of agencies will be looking for a consultant to help plan for the New River Regional 911 consolidated dispatch center. Milburn Township and Summit, New Jersey will be undertaking the same type of project as they study the possibility of sharing police, fire, and court services. Finally, North Little Rock, Arkansas has expressed their desire to look into Next Generation 911 in the next few years.

It is no surprise that July was one of the more active months since the economic stimulus package was passed. States and localities are still looking to do business within the Justice/Public Safety and Homeland Security market. This is not a shock to anyone who follows this market as year after year, public safety remains one of the top priorities of congress, state CIO's, and city/county officials. GovWin expects to see a continued increase in business opportunities for public safety communication vendors, security system vendors, access control and identification vendors, and optical/surveillance vendors.

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