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Deltek pulse: Justice/public safety and homeland security, June review

The most common terms appearing in justice/public safety and homeland security solicitations in June 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: 994
  • Top three states (by number of solicitations released): California (97), Texas (67) and Florida (58) 
  • Top three keywords: fire alarm and alerting, camera/surveillance and radio

Frequency of terms

  • Surveillance: 34 (8 state, 26 local)
  • Radio: 9 (3 state, 6 local)
  • Computer-aided dispatch: 4 (1 state, 3 local)
  • 911: 4 (all local)

June Trends

  • June was a slower month for solicitation releases, with 150 fewer solicitations released than May. Procurement activity typically slows during summer months as vacation schedules delay the RFP process.
  • Despite a quieter month, state entities were still active in June, releasing RFPs and making decisions about major statewide projects, many of which had been on hold due to financial constraints. This is likely due to secured funding as many budgets were approved for the new fiscal year.
  • Traditional justice and public safety technologies took center stage with RFPs released for 911, radio and CAD projects.

Notable projects

  • The Texas Department of Public Safety released a solicitation for its enterprise case management system. The system will replace disparate systems that are not able to communicate with each other, making it easier for department employees to retrieve data more efficiently.
  • The city of Bowling Green, Ky., in conjunction with Warren County, awarded Motorola a $7 million contract to provide a new digital public safety radio system to replace its 800 MHz trunked system installed in 1997

Analyst’s Take:

Although the number of solicitations released in June was relatively high, there was less activity due to the historically slow summer season. As July signifies the start of the fiscal year for many agencies, the number of projects solicited in the coming months is likely to increase, and statewide projects will remain a major focus for agencies. Many grants will also be awarded in the fall, which will give agencies matching funds or other monies to spend on upgrades.

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

The most common technologies procured across states and localities in June were radio systems and equipment, surveillance and security systems and fire alarm systems. The word cloud below provides a visual interpretation of key-term frequency.

  • Radio systems and equipment: 11 solicitations
  • Surveillance and security systems: 5 solicitations
  • Fire alarm system: 5 solicitations

 

Procurement departments in June seemed to be wrapped up in two types of projects: those focused on radio system replacements or upgrades, and those focused on numerous corrections technologies. The Western States Contracting Alliance (WSCA) will be rebidding its public safety radio communications equipment project, with Washington state acting as the lead. The current contract, in which 15 vendors are part of, is broken down into eight categories ranging from towers to antennas, to repeater stations. Far from affecting just Washington or Western states, the current contract (from a request for proposals [RFP] released in 2003) is in place for 24 states nationwide. While it is unknown exactly how many states will participate in the new contract, it is expected that most current states will remain.

California participates in WSCA; however, the California Technology Agency (CTA) recently offered a one-year extension on several radio projects including VHF low-band base stations and fixed receivers. CTA also confirmed its intent to rebid its contracts for 700 and 800 MHz mobile and portable radios. Likewise, Maricopa County, Ariz., released an RFP for a full radio system infrastructure upgrade, and Effingham County, Ill., may have a requirement to replace its current 800 MHz radio system.

The state of Maryland received approval to move forward with a contract with Motorola, Inc., for a statewide public safety interoperability system after nearly two years of waiting. The project, for which a solicitation was originally released in 2008, has been on hold since being awarded in 2010 due to a protest from ARINC.

The other major trend in June was the purchase of corrections technologies. Maryland became one of the first states to purchase a cell-phone interdiction system for its state prisons. This system complies with the FCC ruling prohibiting the blocking of cell phones, but also ensures that inmates are unable to utilize the phones should they somehow manage to get their hands on one. Arizona expects to award a contract for consulting services for its inmate management system project in a few weeks, which will allow the entire project to move forward. Washington state is developing a solicitation for a perimeter detection system for its corrections facilities; however, the state also canceled a project for the replacement of a security alarm system at the Washington Corrections Center for Women due to lack of funding.

Analyst’s Take

As evidenced by the number of projects moving forward in June, radio systems and related initiatives are forever destined to be at the forefront of justice and public safety technologies. The narrowbanding deadline is rapidly approaching, and cities and counties are making every effort to at least have their plans in place by January 1, 2013. Still, these systems are costly and, in many cases, are the most expensive purchases a town will make until it comes time to replace them.

The passage of another year’s budget without funding for necessary projects led to a significant number of ventures being canceled in June, but with the new fiscal year that began on July 1, many projects put on the backburner will be reignited in the coming months. This gives hope to many beleaguered state and local governments that at least some of the projects that have long been on hold will see the light of day. However, it seems in many respects that local governments in particular have given up on finding funding for all but the most essential projects, and have accepted that they will likely be delayed for several more years before approved. While this is certainly bad news for vendors, it makes those with knowledge of grants and funding mechanisms essential. This will likely to lead to increased purchases from vendors who have scalable systems that agencies can purchase the minimum on while funding is tight, and possibly expand at a later date when money is available.

Vendors with a diversified product line are also likely to weather the current funding storm, as state and local governments are increasingly rolling projects together to save on administrative and system costs. One example of this is Putnam County, New York’s mobile data network infrastructure project, which was canceled as it is likely going to be rolled into the next generation 911 project. Vendors who offer more specialized product lines should strongly consider teaming with other companies that make complementary projects to avoid losing out on essential business.