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Expensive new police radios funded by state grant

About half of Kenai’s first responders will be getting new radio equipment after a series of actions by the city council. At Wednesday night’s Kenai City Council meeting the purchase was approved.

City Councilman Henry Knackstedt asked City Manager Paul Ostrander about the sole-sourcing of the purchase, which is allowed in city code under certain circumstance.

“My only question that if you could state why it's sole-sourcing it just kind of for the record. You know, did you look anywhere else?” Knackstedt asked. “There's a specific radio that we need to purchase so that they match the other radios that we have in the department. So both the fire department and the police department are equipped with the same Motorola radios and they're covered under the NASBO contract. So it's standardized (and) ensures the lowest price and I believe that in this case that the these radios can only be purchased at one location in the state.”

“NASBO” is the National Association of State Budget Officers.

The 19 radios, at about $5,200 each with accessories, pretty much completes the Kenai Police Department refit, but according to Ostrander more will likely be needed in a few years.

“I believe that the police department has now completed the acquisition of the radios in their department, and that fire department does still need some radios. There has been a request for radio purchases from the fire department (it’s) something that administration is considering, but we aren’t currently planning on funding those during this budget cycle. But certainly a need has been identified by the fire department.”

At a previous meeting the city formally accepted a $100,000 grant from the State of Alaska Department of Public Safety to be put toward radio upgrades. 

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