Rockwall County, Texas, had a problem.
The county's aging first-responder radio system urgently needed to be replaced. With an exploding growth in population — up 111 percent from 2000 to 2015 — the outdated radio system no longer provided the necessary level of coverage. Support from the manufacturer was declining and spare parts were hard to find.
There are five small cities in Rockwall County, with the population spread out over a largely rural area about 30 miles east of Dallas, Texas, across Lake Ray Hubbard. The county radio system was separate from the city of Rockwall, the county seat. Rockwall hosts the emergency service radio communications for the four other cities — Fate, Royse City, Heath and McClendon-Chisholm. This city system, based on older analog technology, was also running on borrowed time, as the manufacturer had announced a schedule of declining support to give users time to replace it.
The county sheriff's office received a single vendor's proposal to build a new radio system for $10 million that would support the county and the five cities. The county realized it did not have the expertise to evaluate the proposal and engaged Black & Veatch to do the evaluation.