Uvalde City Council approved the $257,550 purchase of new Uvalde Police Department dispatch center software to replace an unreliable 18-year-old system.
Council members unanimously approved the purchase Dec. 12, contingent on finding the money in the budget to cover about $41,463 over the budgeted amount of $216,087.
The need for new technology is urgent, and the current system was installed in 2004, according to UPD Chief Daniel Rodriguez.
“This new system will take care of a lot of the issues that we currently have, as far as … static and all that,” Rodriguez said. “We have had a lot of issues with it, where we get the blue screen on our dispatch system or consoles.”
He said the finance committee approved and budgeted for the purchase in the current 2022-2023 fiscal year budget, but the budgeted amount included a one-year warranty.
Rodriguez said the city’s IT department recommended a five-year warranty, as the console system is being purchased from a sister company of Motorola. Rodriguez said if Motorola sold off the Avtec company, the city would have no assurances or protections in place without a warranty.
Councilman Ernest W. “Chip” King III, also a member of the Uvalde Volunteer Fire Department, asked if the new console system would bring all radio departments in, including the fire department.
Rodriguez said the Avtec system will replace the current system, but will not hold more, nor will it be an upgrade.
Councilman Hector Luevano, a retired veteran lawman, asked if UPD had received any state grant money to help with the purchase, and Rodriguez said no.
“We tried putting out for grants, two separate grants, one with the Edward Byrne Memorial grant and the other one through Operation Lone Star. We were not awarded those grants,” Rodriguez said.
Luevano said the purchase was essential. “It’s a need, it’s not a want,” Luevano said.
Major Don McLaughlin Jr., who called in to the meeting held at city hall, agreed. Rodriguez said they are able to order the consoles immediately.
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