After receiving the proposal, the Commissioners’ Court realized that the county didn’t have the in-house expertise to responsibly judge the merits of the proposal. They therefore decided to contract with Black & Veatch in order to gain the expertise needed to perform an independent assessment of their communications needs and then evaluate the vendor’s proposal.
After appropriate review, Black & Veatch found that the proposed system would not meet the agencies’ operational needs and was overpriced by 20 percent. The county requested that Black & Veatch develop system alternatives that would meet the collective needs. In doing so, Black & Veatch addressed the issues of system reliability, varying terrain, radio coverage throughout the county and in buildings, and the ability to communicate and coordinate between departments and the six different governmental entities.
Black & Veatch helped the county and participating cities develop an RFP that was used to solicit proposals from multiple LMR providers. Rockwall County, Black & Veatch and the five cities jointly reviewed the new proposals. The county decided to contract with a vendor that offered the robust system needed to bring modern public safety radio communications to Rockwall County. But the best part was its cost – a full $2 million less than the original sole-source proposal.
The new system contract provided a system that was much more within the county’s expectations, and included acceptance testing that would help guarantee that performance would meet the specifications. Key factors in successful system replacements include involving the system users and stakeholders in the project from beginning to end. It is also vital to assemble a project team that includes the latest technical expertise to address the many project issues that will certainly arise.
Proper planning and execution is essential to the successful system transition. An experienced consultant will be extremely knowledgeable of public safety operations, all project phases and technical components, and will be able to help guide the process to a successful completion.