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Deltek Pulse: Justice/public safety and homeland security month in review, March 2014

The most common terms appearing in justice/public safety and homeland security solicitations during March were camera/surveillance, fire alarm and radio. The below maps provide information on where solicitations were released during the month. 

  • Number of public safety bids: 1073
  • Top three states (by number of solicitations released): California (148), Pennsylvania (58) and Ohio (58)
  • Keywords: camera/surveillance, fire alarm and radio

Frequency of terms

  • Surveillance: 31 (9 state; 22 local)
  • Radio: 14 (three state; 11 local)
  • 911: 8 (three state; five local)


  • Quite a few states either issued or had open solicitations for corrections technology in March. Texas chose to combine its previously separate radio frequency electronic monitoring and GPS electronic monitoring projects into a single solicitation. Florida, Arizona and Nashville, Tenn., have solicitations out for inmate phone systems, and several others have open projects for other corrections technologies.
  • Radio system projects renewed their prominence with several states and counties moving forward with solicitations.
  • Computer-aided dispatch (CAD) and related public safety software systems also saw resurgence with several RFIs and RFPs released, including an RFI released by the Arizona Department of Public Safety for a law enforcement CAD system.

Notable projects

  • Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA) released a request for proposals for public safety communication equipment.
  • The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) released a request for information for text-to-911 foreign language translation services, which will be utilized at public safety answering points (PSAPs) throughout the state.
  • The Western States Contracting Alliance (WSCA) released a solicitation for public safety communication equipment, which at least 10 states intend to participate in.

 Analyst’s Take

March had 44 fewer solicitations released compared to February, and many of the key solicitations released were for larger entities and larger projects, which have longer-than-average timeframes for completion. It is also expected that these projects will take longer to award as they may require more extensive review of technical responses.

One of the most expensive and technical systems required in public safety is the public safety radio system, which proved to be extremely popular in March, along with other traditional JPS technologies such as CAD and records management systems. Besides the large WSCA contract, which is expected to be used in at least 10 states and can be used by localities within those states, several other entities released radio RFPs as well. The radio systems, however, varied in type and location. Several projects, such as one in San Francisco, focus only on individual entities, while others are more regionally focused to cover a broader area, like in Sarasota. Still, the requirements are generally similar regardless of where the system is being implemented.

The majority of entities looking to replace or upgrade their system are choosing an APCO P25-compliant replacement in the 700 or 800 MHz band. These systems are also consistently narrowband, as required by the FCC. What remains to be seen, however, is whether the entities currently working on solicitations will choose to include long-term evolution and other broadband options in the future.

GovWin IQ subscribers can read further about these projects in the provided links. Non-subscribers can gain access with a GovWin IQ free trial.


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

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

  • Number of public safety bids: 1,383
  • Top three states (by number of solicitations released): California (130), Pennsylvania (118) and Texas (81)
  • Keywords: camera/surveillance, fire alarm and radio

Frequency of terms

  • Surveillance: 32 (seven state; 25 local)
  • Radio: 15 (four state; 11 local)
  • 911: 6 (three state; three local)

Number of opportunities by location 

  • State: 573
  • County: 387
  • City: 305
  • University: 22
  • Other: 96


  • Public safety software suites continued to trend in November with several localities releasing solicitations for these technology systems, including Forsyth County, Ga., and College Station, Texas
  • A lack of funding continues to hamper projects across agencies and technological requirements. Unfortunately, many localities do not believe the situation will improve much in the next year
  • Radio projects continue to move forward in many locations with solicitations planned for release in 2014. The majority of these projects will be P25-compliant

Notable projects

Analyst’s Take

November saw a sharp rise in the number of solicitations released compared to October.  In total, 306 more justice and public safety solicitations were released. Despite the holiday, many of these solicitations were released toward the end of the month; however, many of them also have longer-than-usual timeframes for response, with many proposals not due until well into January. This trend occurred across all JPS procurements, particularly for radio-based technologies.

Many localities and states that were among the first wave to upgrade their radio systems when the narrowbanding requirement was released nearly 10 years ago are now in need of system and equipment upgrades. This has led to solicitations being released for system and equipment upgrades – a trend that is likely to continue in 2014.

November also saw an increase in solicitations for systems used by correctional facilities. This is indicative of a larger trend that shows corrections departments increasing their reliance on technology and moving forward with technology projects such as electronic monitoring, inmate phone systems and larger jail/case management systems.

Vendors should keep in mind that, in many cases, it is no longer sufficient to simply fulfill police departments’ technological needs. It is also essential to provide fully integrated solutions capable of tracking the full chain of custody from arrest through sentencing and incarceration. Vendors who are not in a position to provide fully-integrated solutions should begin building teaming relationships with other vendors to ensure their proposals are as strong as possible.

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

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

  • Number of public safety bids: 1,077
  • Top three states (by number of solicitations released): California (118), Virginia (79) and Texas (63)
  • Keywords: fire alarm, camera/surveillance and radio

Frequency of terms:

  • Surveillance: 31 (five state; 26 local)
  • Radio: 12 (three state; nine local)
  • 911 : 4 (one state; three local) 

The below graph provides information on the break-down of the entities purchasing justice and public safety technologies.


  • October was a slow month compared to the fervor of September, with far fewer projects released for state and local entities across all regions of the country, and the majority of RFPs released came out toward the end of the month
  • Numerous projects released in September closed throughout October and are now under review to determine the most suitable vendor(s)
  • Several local governments confirmed large radio and 911 projects are moving forward with solicitations planned in the near future

Notable projects

  • Los Angeles, Calif., released a request for proposals (RFP) for a CAD-to-CAD consultant to draft an RFP for vendors to construct and implement a system for connecting four separate fire departments’ CAD systems
  • Massachusetts released an RFP for next generation 911 products and services to hire a contractor to design, install, operate, monitor and maintain a turnkey NG911 system throughout the commonwealth
  • Travis County, Texas, released a solicitation for an electronic monitoring system with the ability to determine a person’s specific location as well as verify their compliance with any curfew restrictions
  • Maine is currently working on its court case management system project and intends to spend the next year securing funding and developing project specifications

Analyst’s Take

The number of canceled opportunities sharply increased in October, though the reasons and ways in which the projects were canceled varied significantly. Numerous entities simply chose to cancel projects due to budgetary constraints or priority shifts. Lafayette, La., canceled its next generation 911 system for these reasons; while South Carolina canceled its long-planned incident-based reporting system (SCIBRS) website project, as it no longer requires these services. Further entities chose to sole source projects, such as Effingham County, Ill., which determined that only its existing vendor, Motorola, could provide a suitable replacement for its aging radio system. 

 The cancelation of so many projects, particularly ones that had been in the planning stages for several years, indicates that many purchasing offices are working to clean up their files and prioritize for the rest of the year. Given the large number of projects that have begun moving forward in recent months, it is not surprising that many entities found projects they are no longer interested in pursuing during this review. 



Deltek pulse: justice/public safety and homeland security March review

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

  • Number of Public Safety Bids: 946
  • Top three states (by number of solicitations released): California (116), Pennsylvania (65) and Texas (65)
  • Top three keywords:  fire alarm and alerting, camera/surveillance and consultant

Frequency of terms:

  • Radio: 8 (6 local and 2 state)
  • 911: 1 (1 state, 1 local)

Compared to the flurry of activity in February, March proved to be a slow month for procurement across the country. One trend that carried over, unfortunately, was that of canceled projects. Governments continue to be concerned with sequestration and the potential funding impact it may have, which was especially evident in early March. The majority of canceled projects were at the state level, which is expected to get the most immediate impact of sequestration.

New Jersey’s Department of the Treasury canceled its requirement for statewide 911 telecommunications equipment, and West Virginia canceled its video surveillance system project. Some locations are even putting aside critical systems replacements in favor of cheaper upgrade options, as Sacramento, Calif., did with its radio system project.

Very little uniformity was seen in March in terms of the types of projects procured across states and localities. Fear of increased spending cuts has likely caused purchasers to create even more rigid priority lists and focus only on the most essential items first. Sandy Springs, Ga., for example, released a solicitation for its unified radio system project management opportunity, which will cover several cities in north Fulton County. The city plans to purchase the system off of a statewide contract once the project manager makes its recommendation. Likewise, Charleston County, S.C., released a long-awaited RFP for its public safety software system after releasing two RFIs for the project beginning in 2010. The project has undergone significant transformation from the original RFIs, with entities and systems joining and being removed over the last three years, as is common in projects that take significant time to finish.

Analyst’s Take

The evolution of projects from an initial RFI will be important for vendors to remember considering RFIs were particularly abundant in March for both state and local governments. The technologies sought through these RFIs vary widely and provide opportunities for vendors across the board. Orange County, Fla., released an RFI for thermal imaging cameras, while the Florida State Courts System released one for remote court interpreting technology. New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA) released an RFI for a new radio system, and the state of Iowa released one for digital radios and communications devices

The prevalence of RFIs continues to be an encouraging sign that the market may pick up; however, vendors should still practice cautious optimism. As seen in Charleston County, it can take several years before funding is secured for projects mentioned in RFIs, and the scope can shift significantly. Agencies often use RFIs as a way to estimate the cost of their projects and are often forced to cut back on the physical scope or requirements upon learning the true cost.

Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek’s GovWin IQ database and take advantage of a free trial.


Deltek pulse: justice/public safety and homeland security February review

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

  • Number of Public Safety Bids: 971
  • Top three states (by number of solicitations released): California (106), Pennsylvania (88) and Georgia (57)
  •  Top three keywords:  fire alarm and alerting, consultant and radio

Frequency of terms

  • Radio: 9 (7 local and 2 state)
  • 911: 1 (1 state, 0 local)

Weeks after the narrowbanding deadline passed, counties finally seem to be making progress in meeting the new requirements. Several counties awarded projects for new radio systems in February, including Chester County, Penn., and Putnam County, N.Y. Other localities released radio solicitations, including Yadkin County, N.C.; Otsego County, N.Y.; and St. Tammany Parish, La., which released a solicitation to rent radio equipment and trunked repeater services.

While there was significant progress made in several projects as long-awaited RFPs were released, funding continues to be a huge hindrance for many governments. Though several states and localities are used to releasing RFIs to gain a better understanding of technologies and how they could be applied to their specific needs, more and more agencies are using RFIs to determine costs of solutions and whether they can afford to pursue implementation efforts.

Many of these RFIs used for price analysis are resulting in canceled projects a year or two after the initial RFI release. North Carolina released an RFI for computer-aided translation software for the Administrative Office of the Courts in August 2012, and canceled the project in February 2013. Likewise, the California Administrative Office of the Courts canceled its online privacy protection service project, which an RFI was released for in March 2011. Pennsylvania made a surprising choice, given recent media focus on gun control, and canceled its instant gun check system project, which was first mentioned in a 2007 RFI.

Analyst’s Take

Despite many projects being canceled across agencies due to funding, this does not mean they won’t be pursued in the future. Some agencies are moving the projects in house, while others are waiting for the economy to improve. Further entities are seeking funding for necessary projects in unconventional ways. After the rejection of budget requests, the Austin Police Department is seeking forfeited funds to pay for one of its projects. Rockdale County, N.C., is submitting a request for capital appropriations for one of its larger projects, and is also considering applying for grants.

The trend of canceled projects and seeking untraditional funds is likely a response to the government’s sequestration measures, which will likely mean fewer grants for state and local agencies. At this point, however, agencies have been dealing with budget constraints for years, and some projects must be completed. Vendors should keep an eye on the budget process in key localities, including any chances agencies may have to seek additional funds if projects are not included in the finalized budget. This is particularly true for agencies that may have access to forfeited funds or vendors that serve the 911 market, as many 911 boards can spend money collected from citizens’ telephone bills as the 911 surcharge.

Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek’s GovWin IQ database and take advantage of a free trial.



Deltek pulse: justice/public safety and homeland security January review

The most common technologies and services procured across states and localities in January were fire alarm and suppression systems, security camera/CCTV systems and radio systems. The word cloud below provides a visual interpretation of key-term frequency.

Radio Systems: 4 solicitations

Security Camera / CCTV systems: 7 solicitations

Fire Alarm or Suppression Systems: 28 solicitations


The new year started off with the long-anticipated narrowbanding deadline on January 1. Despite this, there are still many cities and counties that have yet to meet the criteria, and others that have met the deadline, but still have older systems that need upgrading. Ostego County, N.Y., canceled its initial solicitation for a new radio system, but has since re-issued an RFP with a revised scope to attract more bidders. The state of Iowa also released an RFP for a new public safety land mobile radio (LMR) system; however, the state is considering utilizing another option and may not award a contract. It is likely that radio systems will continue to be popular even though the deadline has passed, due to the critical role they play in all public safety operations.
Another trend passed along from December is the rising popularity of emergency notification systems. Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, N.C., released an RFI for an emergency management alert notification system; other communities in Iowa, Virginia and Colorado also announced plans to implement these systems. Social media, unpredictable and often devastating weather, and the increasing need to alert citizens of major events at the drop of a hat are fueling this new trend.
Justice and courts technologies were also on the rise in January. New Hampshire received five bids for its electronic court system project. The state hopes the awarded vendor will leverage its existing court case management system while augmenting the case processing workflow process. In Colorado Springs, the municipal court conducted demonstrations with vendors who had responded to a request for information for a new justice information system. The city ultimately decided to contract a vendor to perform a consultation on the project, in which a solicitation for the system will be released afterward.    
Analyst’s Take
At a national level, the hottest topic in January was the federal gun registry. It remains to be seen what form this type of system will take and what the expectations will be for individual states. Should the system come to fruition, there will likely be a major impact on states’ business operations. Deltek anticipates that the system will ultimately look something like the current Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification (IAFIS) and Combined Offender DNA Index System (CODIS) systems, where individual states and localities have their own systems that feed into a larger, nationwide database. This would be a huge opportunity for vendors interested in pursuing a mega database project, as well as systems integrators who have the ability to connect smaller, disparate systems to larger ones. 
Systems integrators should also be on the lookout for contracting opportunities in locations where surveillance systems are being expanded – such as La Crosse, Wisconsin – as well as major consolidation efforts. One example is the city of Terrell, Texas, which is working to develop a new radio system that will likely connect with the county’s system at a future date. As consolidation efforts continue, vendors would be wise to keep systems integration projects at the forefront of their portfolios.
GovWin IQ subscribers can read further about these projects in the provided links. Non-subscribers can gain access with a GovWin IQ free trial.


Deltek pulse: justice/public safety and homeland security December review

The most common technologies and services procured across states and localities in December were fire alarm and suppression systems, security/cctv systems and 911 systems. The word cloud below provides a visual interpretation of key-term frequency.

  • 911 systems: 6 solicitations
  • Security/ CCTV systems: 19 solicitations
  • Fire Alarm or Suppression Systems: 19 solicitations

Public safety communications for cities and counties around the country hit a turning point in December. While there were numerous trends throughout 2012 – from an increase in the use of NG911 technologies, to public safety institutions beginning to use cloud-based options for computer-aided dispatch (CAD) records management systems (RMS) – one trend exceeded them all: narrowbanding.

December was the final month localities had to meet the FCC’s narrowbanding requirement or request waivers if they had no hope of doing so. Even those granted waivers were required to have concrete plans in place about how and when they expect to meet the deadline, and localities worked diligently to put those in place. Several localities announced plans to replace or upgrade their radio systems in the near future, and others made definitive decisions about how they would be moving forward with those projects. Fulton County, Ga., released an RFP on December 28 for its radio system, and Carroll County, Md., made the decision to move forward with its radio system without the aid of a consultant. Despite the passage of the narrowbanding deadline, many counties and cities will still be looking to upgrade their radio systems in the coming months and years, as a large number have not yet met the FCC’s requirements.   

Radio solicitations were not the only ones released in December; several states and larger localities also moved forward with large-scale projects that had been in the works. The city of Freemont, along with Dodge County, Nebraska, released an RFP for 911 call processing equipment. Massachusetts released an RFP for its electronic filing project two years after the RFI was issued. The state also released a solicitation for an inmate phone system for all facilities run by the state corrections department. 

Numerous requests for information for major projects were also released in December. Kansas released an RFI for E911 GIS for all of the state’s public safety answering points (PSAPs), and Vermont issued a statewide RFI for an automated vehicle locating system for the Department of Public Safety. 

The widespread release of solicitations highlights one of December’s main trends: increased clarity regarding the direction of projects. Across the county, it seems as though decisions were finally being made about how to proceed with projects. Florida finally canceled its initiative to develop a federated security plan after releasing an RFI in July 2011, and in Alaska, development of a solicitation for a case management system has officially begun. 

The last major trend of December involved, unsurprisingly, increased interest in emergency notification systems. After the devastating weather phenomenon experienced in 2012, from July’s derecho to Superstorm Sandy, localities are beginning to realize the importance of being able to contact citizens at a moment’s notice. The increase in electronic communications has underscored the need for communities such as Honolulu, Hawaii, and Illinois State University to branch out in how they communicate with citizens.

Analyst’s Take

Vendors should be on the lookout for more solicitation releases in the coming months. It is likely that departments will issue RFIs to gather budget information for projects they hope to pursue in the coming fiscal year, which begins for most states and localities on July 1. Many departments will also begin assembling their budget proposals if they have not done so already, and they will require a clear picture of expected costs. This may also be the reason for the rise in solicitations. Often, departments are required to use the funds they have been granted before the end of the fiscal year, or they risk losing them. By releasing RFPs now, it is likely that they are counting on being able to award them and sign a contract prior to the beginning of the fiscal year. 

Many local agencies are also taking the fiscal cliff and sequestration into account as they make decisions about what projects will move forward. While the fiscal cliff was averted earlier this week, the bill passed acted only as a stopgap measure, and sequestration is still very much a reality. Congress only has until March 1 to pass additional measures to keep sequestration from going into effect. Agencies are therefore likely to continue working quickly to utilize any federal grant money they were given for this year. Should sequestration take effect, this grant money may be reduced or eliminated completely; so many communities are seeking to upgrade systems now in anticipation of the reduction in funds that may come next year.

These factors help explain the increased clarity on whether projects will be moving forward, as it will be imperative for solicitations to be released in the next few months to ensure that localities have time to conduct a complete evaluation period prior to the end of the current budget cycle. For those working on larger, multiyear projects, or that are allowed to carry over funds, it is still likely that procurement and program officers will be looking to move forward with projects as soon as possible. Expect solicitations to be released sometime toward the end of Q1 or beginning of Q2 so that agencies will be ready to award projects once FY 13 funds become available in July.  


Radio Systems and Accessories: Vendor Landscape

Radio systems are always one of the most popular technologies in the justice and public safety marketplace, particularly right now as the FCC’s narrowbanding deadline draws near. The below map provides a visual representation of where radio systems, accessories and related technology purchases have been made in the last 12 months, according to the Deltek database.


In states such as Texas, New York and California, the last 12 month has resulted in 10 or more purchases of radio technology, likely due to the fact that many localities are struggling to narrowband and avoid costly fines by the FCC. In the last three years, an even greater number of states with better-prepared localities also made significant radio purchases.


Five states had at least 15 radio purchases in the last three years. While a large portion of these were likely driven by the need to narrowband, the increase in popularity of P25 compliant systems and systems reaching the end of their useful life also played a role in these purchases.

Along with being one of the most frequently procured JPS technologies, radio systems are also some of the most expensive systems. Only 911 systems rival radio systems in cost, and 911 systems are often funded in part through 911 taxes levied on phone bills. Radio systems, on the other hand, are painstakingly funded through city and county budgets, and, if lucky, through grants.

The installation of radio systems is often limited to a select group of multistate (and in some cases, multinational), well-known vendors; however, there is significant room for smaller companies to get their piece of the pie when it comes to system accessories. Distributors and resellers often work on a more local level to provide radios, repeaters and even towers to cities and counties within a short distance of their shop. The below map identifies the states with the greatest number of vendors who list radio technologies as their primary business offering.


Analyst’s Take

As indicated in the above maps, the purchase of radio-based technology aligns closely with the locations of vendors selling these technologies. A great deal of this is due to the significant opportunity available to distributors and resellers in these areas. Of course, vendors focusing on radios and accessories have opportunities on a steadier basis than vendors who focus only on areas requiring the development of an entirely new system. Despite the increase in cell-phone towers and reception, radios remain the number one way in which public safety officials communicate, and this will not be changing anytime soon. Even smaller vendors should consider expanding their businesses, either in the locations served or the types of products and services offered.

While the narrowbanding deadline means that a large number of systems were recently upgraded, a significant number were not, and agencies have sought waivers or are willing to take the chance that the FCC will not enforce the deadline. In many cases, even systems that were narrowbanded were done so through the conversion of radios themselves, and full system overhauls and upgrades may still be needed.

Vendors interested in expanding location-wise should consider states where little to no radio technology purchases were made in the last few years. Given the nature of the market and widespread strapped budgets, it is unlikely that these states were all ahead of the curve and narrowbanded their systems upon first learning of the mandate. More likely, they are waiting until funding can be secured and are making due with antiquated systems and duct-tape.

Narrowbanding deadline looms large

With just 19 days until the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) narrowbanding deadline, approximately 30-35 percent of all affected licenses will not be compliant with the requirements, according to a variety of sources. While the FCC does not offer a complete list of the localities and agencies that have submitted requests for an extension/waiver, a quick search of the FCC Commission documents page yields numerous requests, and this doesn’t account for the agencies that have yet to file paperwork for a waiver. Once the deadline passes, the FCC will have a better idea of how many agencies are not in compliance.
As a quick refresher, the FCC announced that all non-federal radio licenses operating 25kHz systems in the 150-174 MHz and 412-512 MHz (VHF and UHF) spectrums must migrate to more efficient 12.5 kHz (narrowband) channels by January 1, 2013. The order from the FCC came in December 2004, giving agencies eight years to comply. According to the FCC, agencies that do not narrowband will face “enforcement action, including admonishments, monetary forfeitures and/or license revocation.” It is unclear what the monetary fines will amount to, but the FCC may take non-compliant systems off the air or assess fines after the deadline. The FCC will begin reframing the new 12.5 kHz channels created from the narrowbanding, which could cause interference with wideband channels still being utilized by public safety agencies.
Looking at the measures the FCC will apparently take should agencies not move off the wideband frequencies makes you wonder: Would the FCC really take these systems off the air? Would the FCC risk an agency’s ability to respond to incidents because it is no longer online using these channels? Eventually, these older channels will be reassigned for other uses, and public safety officials will then be crossing lines. So, maybe the FCC will act on this statement. It is indeterminate as to what will eventually occur on January 1, but this much is clear: There are going to be violators.              
As mentioned, a number of agencies have made requests for a narrowbanding waiver to push off compliance for various reasons. The Spokane Regional Emergency Communications System in Washington state requested, and was granted a waiver through June 30, 2014. The state of Montana was also granted a waiver, as it was determined by the FCC that it was in the best interest of the state’s citizens.
Analyst’s Take
The reasons for agency waivers are numerous, but in many cases, agencies have been engaged in various upgrades and require more time to complete them. Agencies granted waivers have to show an effort to move forward with a new system, and a time frame for doing so. According a narrowbanding guide from the Department of Homeland Security in March 2011, equipment manufactured after 1997 can be reprogrammed for narrowbanding. Vendors should work with agencies to reprogram existing equipment and infrastructure should the agency not have available funds to purchase a new system. In other cases, existing manufacturers or in-house radio technicians can reprogram radios to save money. Agencies and vendors need to work together to learn all the different options.
In some cases, agencies are working with equipment that is decades old and requires complete replacement to be compliant. These agencies may lack funding to move forward and may not have completed a waiver request in time. Vendors can assist these agencies in completing these requests to avoid FCC fines. If the waiver period is too late, an open line of communication should still be developed with the FCC in order to ensure a successful transition. 


Deltek pulse: justice/public safety and homeland security November review

Deltek pulse: justice/public safety and homeland security November review

The most common technologies and services procured across states and localities in October were fire alarm and suppression systems, consultants for all types of projects and radio systems. The word cloud below provides a visual interpretation of key-term frequency. 

  • Radio System: 4 solicitations 
  • Consultant: 7 solicitations 
  • Fire Alarm or Suppression Systems: 26 solicitations

In November 2011’s recap blog, Deltek reported on two major contract awards in the justice and public safety market: one for a consultant for Dallas’ P25-compliant radio system, and one for Arlington, Va’s computer-aided dispatch/records management/comprehensive integrated justice system consultant. Deltek anticipated solicitations being released in the next year for the resulting systems, and we were half right. Arlington did in fact release a solicitation for its integrated suite of police applications, for which proposals are currently under evaluation. Dallas, on the other hand, placed its entire radio system project on hold as it reassesses how to move forward. The county is not providing further information on what specifically is being reconsidered.

This November was fairly devoid of consulting projects as cities and counties focused more on systems-based projects. Radio projects are still popular, however, as all levels of government race to meet the narrowbanding deadline. Portland, Ore., release an RFP for a public safety voice communications system, and LA County has announced plans to sole source the rebanding of its countywide integrated radio system to Harris Corporation. Davidson County, N.C., confirmed its intent to move forward with implementing a trunked radio system once funding becomes available. Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is also waiting on funding before proceeding with its P25-compliant 800MHz radio system project. The consultant hired in 2010 recommended moving ahead with the project immediately; however, due to the city’s signification budget constraints, it will likely not be funded until 2018.

This lack of funding for radio systems and other projects seems to be a significant trend across all levels of government in the U.S. The Florida Department of Education has placed an access control and camera system on hold due to lack of funding, and Colorado’s Office of the Governor has to put its microwave network assessment consulting project on hold for the same reason. Forsyth County, Ga., has been seeking funding through numerous grant sources for several years to fund its thermal imaging cameras project, though no money been received at this point. 

Analyst’s Take

The lack of available grant funding also seems to be a trend, not just for November, but throughout 2012. The longer austerity measures are implemented across the country, the more commonplace this situation will become. Governments can no longer assume funds will become available when their budgets fall short. Vendors should begin expecting lengthier timelines for projects to give agencies additional time to find funding.

Though good news seems to be scarce, not all is lost. Many agencies are moving forward with projects, particularly those that have been in the works for some time. For example, Missoula, Mo., released three long-awaited solicitations in November, for mobile data computers, a mobile digital video system, and physical security electronics for the police department. This suggests that governments are willing to proceed with projects once they are completely planned out and everything has been finalized. Still, the financial constraints faced by nearly all of the states has not stopped some from going through the time and expense of releasing solicitations, only to have them canceled with the announcement that they will be rebid. As reported by Joanna Salini earlier this month, Maine found itself in this situation with its next generation 911 system. Vendors should keep an eye on projects that have been canceled after already reaching the solicitation stage, as the majority of those will be rebid at a later time, often with similar specifications.


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