New safety radios to cost $400K less

COVINGTON, Ky. - A contract to replace radios for Covington’s Police, Fire, and Public Works departments will cost the City less than originally anticipated -- more than $400,000 less.
The Covington City Commission voted to accept a bid at its Nov. 20 meeting with AMK Services to supply 356 mobile and portable radios for a price of up to $881,683.
The radios are needed because the Kenton County Emergency Dispatch Center - which dispatches Covington’s emergency personnel - is upgrading its radio system infrastructure.
Based on pricing structure when the process started in spring 2017, the City estimated that the new radios would cost $1.3 million, Police Chief Rob Nader said. But the competitive bid process and ongoing negotiation drastically lowered the cost.
The bid offered by AMK, a Richmond-based vendor for Harris radios, was significantly less than the other bid received by the City.
“We’re getting a good radio at a great price,” Nader said. “This was a ‘no-brainer’ if we are to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money.”
The county’s new P25 800 Mhz digital trunked communication system - which will go online in spring 2019 - will have improved signal strength in large buildings and in low spots such as valleys, and it will greatly increase the ability of law enforcement and fire agencies in the area to communicate with each other, Nader said.
“This ability to communicate is critical in times of large-scale public emergencies,” he said.
Currently, Covington’s fire command and police officers can’t directly communicate with each other at emergency scenes via radio.
The purchase will consist of 182 portable (handheld) and 174 mobile (vehicle-based) radios. The majority - 222 - will be used within the Police Department. The Fire Department will be assigned 68, and Public Works will receive 66.
The purchase is being paid out of the City’s Infrastructure Fund.
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