Washington State Patrol to Negotiate Sole-Source Contract to Meet Narrowbanding Deadline (11/11/11)
Friday, November 11, 2011 | Comments

To complete its VHF narrowbanding project, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) said it will be necessary for the state to negotiate a sole source contract with Motorola Solutions. WSP said in a Nov. 8 document that to successfully integrate with the existing Department of Justice (DOJ) Northwest Zone Project 25 (P25) trunked system, the sole-source contract is necessary.

In late September, DOJ notified the WSP that officials would like to discuss expanded WSP participation in DOJ’s Northwest zone P25 system. “WSP then conducted an extensive analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of expanding its current participation in DOJ’s communications system rather than to continue on the course of expanding its own radio system using the $33 million funding approved by the 2011 legislature,” a WSP notice said. “It was concluded there were indeed substantial benefits to WSP by expanding its participation in DOJ’s Northwest Zone P25 trunked communications system.”

However, WSP also concluded that the primary negative with expanding its participation in DOJ’s system was that a competitive contracting process couldn’t be used “because the DOJ system had been standardized on Motorola brand equipment, software and support.”

The benefits included in the document for the Motorola contract include the following:

• WSP could move to an established VHF P25 trunked system that would meet its narrowbanding needs with enhanced features, allowing increased interoperability with federal law-enforcement agencies.

• Other state agency law enforcement organizations would be allowed on the system.

• DOJ would allow WSP’s non-federal, non-law enforcement partners that use WSP’s communications system on the system.

• Because of the DOJ system infrastructure already in place, this action would potentially have a positive impact on WSP’s narrowbanding project schedule.

• Because WSP is already a user of the DOJ system, this action would bring additional resources to the system, including spectrum, coverage, and maintenance and repair personnel.

• WSP could take advantage of the advanced features available on a digital trunked communication system, using allocated funding, by leveraging the infrastructure investments made by the federal government.

• WSP could replace all of its 1,200 portable and mobile subscriber units using current biennium funding rather than relying on future uncertain biennium funding to complete the transition.

WSP briefed the Governor’s Office, the Office of Financial Management, and legislative committees on the decision to expand its partnership with the DOJ communications system rather than moving forward on its own. The requirement to negotiate a contract with Motorola rather than pursue a competitive bid contracting process also was discussed.

Vendors can review the contract between the state and Motorola Solutions by filing a public disclosure request once it is fully executed and signed by both parties. Completion of the contract is expected the first week of December 2011.

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