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

Published: March 04, 2013

Communications ServicesContract AwardsJustice/Public Safety & Homeland SecurityNG911

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.

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