Pennsylvania auditor releases report on emergency radio upgrade

Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania’s top fiscal watchdog says all procedures were properly followed when the state awarded a contract to upgrade its public safety radio network.

​In 2016, the state awarded a nearly $45 million contract for the new P-25 system to replace the Open Sky network for state police and other agencies. The new system is currently operating in 45 counties.

The state allocated $179 million to build the old radio network in 1996, but in the course of two decades, the cost rose to 800 million taxpayer dollars for a system that did not properly work.

​​”It was a big waste of taxpayer money that put state troopers and the public safety at risk,” Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said. “The new radio system should, and we believe will remedy all of the problems when it is fully operational in the summer of 2021.”​​

DePasquale on Thursday released the results of an audit looking into the purchasing process of the P-25 system. The audit found all procedures were properly followed, and​​ the upgrade is on time and within budget.

“State police will be able to re-use towers and microwave relays from the old system, so some of that older investment can still be utilized,” DePasquale said.

The report says officials should have better documented the qualifications of those who helped choose the vendor. It also found scoring errors, though DePasquale says they did not ultimately impact who was awarded the contract.​

State police say they have not run into any major issues with the new system.

The Office of Inspector General continues to look into the 1996 contract for the old system.

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