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County Council approves contract to upgrade radios for 911 system

Post by Steve Maynard / The News Tribune on Feb. 21, 2012 at 5:57 pm with 5 Comments »
February 22, 2012 3:43 pm

The Pierce County Council has approved a nearly $19 million contract for an upgraded radio system for sheriff’s deputies and other emergency responders.

The contract with Motorola Solutions Inc. would allow the county to comply with new federal standards for so-called “narrowbanding” taking effect in January 2013.

All but about $874,000 – the portion for the county’s public works department – would be funded by the South Sound 911 measure that Pierce County voters approved in November. Starting in April, it will raise the sales tax by a penny on every $10 purchase to provide money to help build a combined radio network and two new dispatch centers.

The contract faces one more step. A board of elected officials, called the South Sound 911 Policy Board, is expected to approve assigning the contract to the new South Sound 911 funding when it meets March 28.

One goal of the voter-approved measure is to remove gaps in radio coverage between emergency agencies.

The $18.65 million contract would upgrade the VHF radio system used by Pierce County Sheriff’s Department deputies, corrections deputies and county emergency management workers to a 700-megahertz system. That upgrade would expand the 700-megahertz system already used by Pierce Transit.

The contract includes the purchase of about 2,200 radios. The contract was reached without a bidding process because only a few firms could provide the service.

A follow-up contract will cover radios for fire departments and some small cities.

Council member Roger Bush said the technology improvements were “long overdue” and will make the residents of the county “much safer.”

The council voted 5-0 Tuesday to approve the contract, declaring an emergency to meet Motorola’s deadline for avoiding a six- to 12-month delay. Council members Dick Muri and Rick Talbert were absent.

Leave a comment Comments → 5
  1. I’ll bet the “follow up” contact will fall through and the smaller agencies will be SOL and told they will have to come up with the money out of their own general fund, even though those cities residents are paying the new south sound 911 tax. South sound 911 is a joke and is going to cost all Pierce County residents a lot more than they expected. They are already talking about getting these new portable and mobile radios when they have absolutely no plans in the works for the systems infrastructure. These new radios cannot operate without that infrastructure and will sit in a closet for years waiting for new dispatch centers to be built (At the cost of even more taxpayer dollars than what was expected).

  2. olympicmtn says:

    Can we replace the human operators too?

  3. NineInchNachosII says:

    Yeah. You say he has a hatchet, you smell gas and you’ve been locket out mam? What is the color of your car? And licence plate number?

  4. novote1 make some very good points,It is too bad all good points will be ignored as usual.

  5. “The contract was reached without a bidding process because only a few firms could provide the service.”

    This logic is ridiculous. If there were so few firms, then the bidding process should have been even easier to carry out in the traditional manner. To throw out the entire procedure sidesteps the safety nets in place to ensure a fair and equitable awarding of contracts.

    The $5,000 donated by Motorola and Harris to campaign for passage of the bond that is now going to pay for the upgraded radio system seems to have been a good investment for Motorola. Motorola ended up being handed the contract without having to compete.

    It sounds corrupt to me.

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