Bexar County cancels body camera bidding process

Setback is latest delay in equipping BCSO deputies with body-worn cameras

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SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County officials confirmed Monday that they canceled the bidding process for body-worn cameras for Bexar County Sheriff's Office deputies days before the process was scheduled to close.

The request for proposals (RFP), which was opened May 18 and scheduled to close June 22, was instead canceled June 18, according to a county spokeswoman.

RELATED: BCSO body camera contract delayed several more months 

BCSO officials declined to comment Monday, referring all questions to the county's purchasing department.

"In light of questions raised by media and comments from others, the stakeholders for this RFP met to go over the requirements and made some changes. A new RFP will be issued soon," said Bexar County purchasing agent Mary Quinones in a written statement.

A county spokeswoman said officials hope to reissue the RFP later this week or early next week.

Bexar County body-worn cameras Request for Proposal - May 2018

The reissuing of the RFP is the latest delay in the process of equipping sheriff's office deputies with body-worn cameras.

Bexar County commissioners in March voted to open the contract to a competitive bidding process, after BCSO officials expressed concerns with the county's current vendor, Utility Associates, Inc.

The county did not open a competitive bidding process when it signed on with Utility in late 2015, under the previous sheriff's office administration, because those cameras were purchased as part of a state buying program.

In February, BCSO officials presented to commissioners a side-by-side demonstration of Utility and cameras from a second provider, Axon, being tested in various law enforcement scenarios.

BCSO officials contend that Axon cameras have a much wider field of view and better audio quality.

Additionally, only a fraction of the purchased Utility cameras, 42 out of more than 300, were ever deployed due to software interface issues.

The potential change in vendors has been source of contention among some county leaders.

Commissioner Tommy Calvert has pushed for including a clause that would ban county employees, including elected officials, from accepting free travel or consulting fees from Axon should the camera-maker ultimately be awarded the contract.

Calvert, who was traveling on county business Monday, released the following statement when asked if he believed the RFP was skewed:

Yes I believed that the previous version of the RFP, specific to hardware-based specifications was skewed.  I am agnostic about who is the vendor going forward.  As policy makers, we need the best information to know who has the best technology, price, service, and durability.  If we have RFP's skewed, we have our information skewed.  We already have body cameras that are being unused, we sent back $500,000 dollars to the state that I personally lobbied for to Senator Royce West of Dallas and we need to get these cameras deployed and stop wasting taxpayer time and money because of outside lobbying.

An Axon official in March told KSAT 12 it is allowing BCSO to use 100 of its cameras while the county works through the bidding process.

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