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

Published: June 05, 2013

Contract AwardsJustice/Public Safety & Homeland Security

The most common terms appearing in justice/public safety and homeland security solicitations during May 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: 1,154
  • Top three states (by number of solicitations released): California (119), Pennsylvania (115) and New York (78)
  • Top three keywords: fire alarm and alerting, camera/surveillance and radio 

In the May 2012 recap, Deltek reported that states were putting projects on hold until the beginning of the new fiscal year (July 1 for most states) as already tight budgets became even more constrained. Fortunately, that does not seem to be the case this year, as numerous solicitations have been released for projects across the country in the last couple months. This may be due to the fact that earlier this spring, when cities and counties are usually moving forward with projects, many chose to hold off on releasing solicitations until the impact of the sequester became more clear. Quite a few of these solicitations were released for statewide projects such as one released by the Alaska Department of Law for a criminal case management system. The RFP was released in early May after an RFI was issued in 2012.

California also released a statewide solicitation for its live-scan fingerprint and associated services project. An RFI was originally released in 2010, and the formal solicitation was developed for more than two years. 

On a more local level, Atlantic City, N.J., released a solicitation for a computer-aided dispatch and records management system consultant. Eight vendors responded, which highlights the fact that, even with a greater number of solicitations released at this time of year than normal, competition is still very tight.

While many states, cities and counties have recently moved forward with long-awaited projects, it does not mean that the fiscal crisis is over or that entities are freely moving forward with the purchase of systems. Many projects released in May were larger projects that had been through numerous planning stages and for which money had been sought for years. For the most part, localities are still struggling to find funding for their projects, and some have even decided not to move forward with initiatives no longer deemed feasible. For example, Alaska decided in May not to re-issue an RFP for its video technology interoperability consulting study. Two previous solicitations had been released for this project; however, the state is unlikely to receive funding for it in the near future and decided not to spend any additional energy on the effort.

Analyst’s Take

Vendors should take advantage of those states that still have funds remaining for this fiscal year and be sure to look out for any additional RFPs. Most likely, the majority of localities are still working on planning projects and will wait until the new fiscal year begins in July or until grants are awarded in early fall. This presents a great opportunity for vendors to reach out to program officers and provide information on their products and capabilities prior to solicitations being finalized.

Vendors should take the chance to offer demonstrations whenever possible so that government decision-makers can see the benefits of the solution up close. While states may be feeling slightly better about the impact sequestration may have on their organizations, there is still likely to be some fallout, particularly for those that are relying on grants. It is therefore critical that vendors do as much as possible to get their name in front of purchasers during a project’s planning stage.

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