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Tampa gets sticker shock, rejects bids for Republican National Convention security cameras

TAMPA — Saying the prices quoted were too high, city officials Friday rejected the two proposals they received for security cameras at next year's Republican National Convention.

That means the city will send out a new request for proposals in early November.

The city's goal is to provide enhanced surveillance for 100 to 200 downtown sites during the convention, to record video around-the-clock and to be able to retrieve images quickly. The cameras need to be in place by June 1 for the RNC in August.

In its original proposal, the city asked for prices on 238 different cameras. More than two-thirds were to be light pole-mounted cameras able to read a number three inches high at 300 meters in daylight.

But police also were interested in helmet cameras to record and document crowd disturbances, small cameras for covert use and cameras that could scan license plates in traffic. And they asked for prices on two unmanned aerial drones, then dropped the idea because of the cost, limited flight time and possible problems with federal aviation regulations.

The city received only two proposals in response to its first request.

One was from Avrio RMS Group, based in the Washington, D.C., area, which provided video surveillance at both national political conventions four years ago. The other came from Iron Sky, based near Houston, with wireless video surveillance systems in 30 cities.

Details of the rejected bids are exempt from disclosure under Florida's public records law because the city has announced plans to seek more bids.

Money to buy or lease the cameras is expected to come from a $55 million federal appropriation Tampa is seeking for convention security. About half of that is expected to be used to pay, house and feed an additional 3,000 police officers from other jurisdictions who are expected to come to Tampa to work the convention.

Officials from Tampa and Charlotte, N.C., the site of next year's Democratic National Convention, have lobbied Congress to pass the appropriation as soon as possible, but it hasn't happened yet.

Tampa gets sticker shock, rejects bids for Republican National Convention security cameras 10/21/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 21, 2011 11:27pm]
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