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Deltek pulse: Justice/public safety and homeland security July review

The most common terms appearing in justice/public safety and homeland security solicitations during July were fire alarm and alerting, and camera/surveillance. The below word cloud provides a visual interpretation of key-term frequency.

  • Number of public safety bids: 1,284
  • Top three states (by number of solicitations released):
  • California (117), Texas (113) and Pennsylvania (85) Keywords: fire alarm and alerting and camera/surveillance

Frequency of terms:

  •  Surveillance: 9 (two state; seven local)
  • Radio: 9 (three state; six local)
  • 911: 4 (one state; three local)

The below graph provides information on what types of entities released JPS solicitations in July

Trends

  •  July saw two very different trends when it came to solicitations, with both an influx of solicitation releases (especially toward the end of the month) and cancellations
  • Corrections technologies were popular in July with Florida, Georgia and Miami-Dade all releasing solicitations for inmate telephone systems. Massachusetts extended its current contract to give the state more time to review proposals
  • Next generation 911 projects were also widespread, with cities and counties of all sizes beginning work on NG911 projects, including releasing solicitations for consultants and systems, and awarding projects

Notable projects

  • In Sarasota County, Fla., a regional radio system project is moving forward quickly; an RFP for a consultant is expected to be released in early August
  • The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office released an RFP in late July for a multimodal biometric identification system that will replace the existing Los Angeles Fingerprint Identification System (LAFIS). This system will be used by the sheriff’s office and all other law enforcement agencies in the county
  • In late July, Minnesota released an RFP for a public safety wireless data network. The contractor will be expected to work with the division of emergency communications networks to develop a plan for the network to help the state obtain grant funding
  • The city of Palo Alto, Calif., released an RFP for a mobile audio visual replacement for the police department. The new equipment will be outfitted in 30 police cards and 14 fire apparatuses. The video feeds from this project will ultimately be placed on cloud-based servers for easy access for city personnel

Analyst’s Take

As expected, states and localities with fiscal years starting July 1 were quite active in the procurement realm, with many releasing solicitations for long-awaited projects. This quick turn-around suggests that many entities had previously written solicitations and been through the approvals process; they were simply awaiting final funding approval before releasing an RFP. 

Likewise, many projects were canceled in July as funding was denied (yet again, in many cases) for projects not deemed essential at this time. Funding still remains the primary issue for agencies looking to pursue new projects, and many will have to seek grant funding to augment or replace government funds.

Vendors should pay particular attention to approved budgets for those entities they are interested in doing business in, as well as budget requests as it is likely that agencies denied funding this year will request again next year. 

 

Deltek Pulse: Justice/Public Safety and Homeland Security July review

The most common technologies and services procured across states and localities in July were consulting services for various technologies, fire alarm and alerting systems and surveillance and security systems. The word cloud below provides a visual interpretation of key-term frequency.

  • Consulting Services: 12 solicitations 
  • Fire Alarm or Alerting Systems: 11 solicitations 
  • Surveillance and security systems: 4 solicitations

While the start of a new fiscal year usually means a rush for states and localities to release RFPs after several dry months, this was not the case in July. Fiscal year 2013 started off slowly for most localities, with only a few releasing project solicitations, and even fewer releasing requests for information. Several statewide projects were also canceled for various reasons, though money was the main issue.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement made a decision to move the rest of its Florida Law Enforcement Exchange (FLEX) project in house after having bid out the first phase in 2006. Likewise, Vermont decided to complete its Vermont Justice Information Sharing System (VJISS) in house along with the related Global Federated Identity and Privilege Management Standards for JISS project. Vermont’s main concerns centered on budget and whether the state would truly be able to get the desired product through a public procurement. 

Colorado canceled its statewide GIS Project Wise Data Integration project due to the fact that all bids received exceeded the state’s available funds. Colorado is considering re-soliciting this project at a later date; however, it is likely that the state would then have to spend additional time and money reworking specifications to ensure all essential requirements are included while decreasing the price of bids. 

Despite some pitfalls, many projects are still moving forward, particularly those associated with the FCC’s narrowbanding deadline. The state of Ohio has been pushing hard for counties to join the Multi-Agency Radio Communications System (MARCS) for some time now, in hopes that the more counties that join, the cheaper it will be. The state is currently considering upgrading the system to bring it in line with P25 standards.

In other July news, Lincoln, Neb., decided to hire a consultant to help upgrade its radio system, which was put in place in 1986, and San Diego County, Calif., released an RFP for a conventional radio technology refresh. While the hype around radio systems may die down slightly after January 1, there will likely still be plenty of radio system projects. Greene County, N.Y., may resume its plans to consolidate all emergency departments onto a single, narrowbanded system, while other localities may pursue upgrades to P25 compliant systems or other more generalized upgrades.

Following June’s trend, prison technologies remained popular in July, though no progress was made on WSCA’s electronic monitoring project, which remains on hold. The Illinois Department of Corrections released an RFP for a suite of corrections-related services including video visitation, electronic messaging, electronic funds transmission services, an MP3 player program, and legal research software and tools. Orange County, Fla., also released a solicitation for corrections services relating to case management and telephony monitoring. San Diego County awarded its telephone services project to Securus Technologies. Connecticut, on the other hand, put its major initiative involving inmate kiosks on hold.

Analyst’s Take

Corrections budgets have been noticeably limited for several years; however, with the last of the ARRA funding having been doled out, budgets are becoming, if possible, even tighter. Many cities and counties are hesitant to release RFPs before funding is approved for a project. This is also true, to a lesser extent, for releasing RFIs, though the nature of the locality and its RFI process are major factors. For some counties, the release of an RFI involves nearly as much work as releasing an RFP, where the document released is exceptionally detailed and lengthy. Other counties use significantly shorter documents with far fewer requirements or requests. It is possible that with dwindling budgets, counties will move toward the use of less formal RFI documents to save time and money.

It is likely that many agencies are also holding off on moving forward with projects until the Byrne/JAG grant recipients are awarded, which typically occurs in August or September. Once they know whether funding has been received, they will be more secure in their budgets and know where funds need to be allocated prior to developing RFPs.

Vendors should always take the time when speaking with project managers to try and get a feel for not only the project’s budget, but also the general fiscal environment of that particular location. This is crucial in a time when unexpected costs can mean a large shuffling of funds. Given Vermont’s hesitancy to put its larger projects out for public bid, in fear that desired needs will not be met, it is also worth mentioning that vendors should take the time to make it clear that they provide tailored and not just off-the-shelf solutions.