Public safety is an extremely high priority for government officials, and a renewed focus on improving it has resulted in large funding allocations. Public safety assets throughout the country are outdated and long overdue for modernization. With funding now available, new equipment, technology and services are being purchased at a rapid pace.

In Phoenix, city officials recently allocated funding for an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) to support local law enforcement. The approval for new equipment, estimated to cost $500,000, was approved in February after an incident in which five Phoenix police officers were shot while responding to a domestic violence call.

Officials in Des Moines will bolster the city’s public safety assets with numerous technology upgrades. Over the upcoming fiscal year, at least $835,000 will be spent on digital radio systems for the police, fire, public works, and parks departments. The upgraded radio technology will replace analog systems that are long overdue for replacement.

Collaborations between cities and counties to improve public safety are also becoming more common. Des Moines is allocating $635,000 to replace the police department’s Record Management System (RMS). The project’s overall cost, however, will be split with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office because it will also benefit from the enhanced program.

Virginia’s Fairfax County has a funding allocation of approximately $700,000 that will be used to ensure that first responders can rapidly respond to emergency incidents. The county fire department’s Emergency Vehicle Preemption (EVP) Program handles traffic signaling equipment along routes that emergency vehicles take from the headquarters to incident destinations. The new equipment will be programmed to speed emergency vehicles through traffic when responding to an incident.

Fairfax County’s public safety budget includes funding of $33.5 million for a new police station. It will be designed and located alongside other community citizen services facilities. The new building project will include new garage parking and a county fueling station.

Montgomery County, Maryland, officials plan to spend approximately $20 million over the next three years on initiatives to modernize public safety. The funding will include the replacement of a countywide radio system for first responders and a new radio tower to ensure uninterrupted coverage. The tower project carries an estimated cost of $2 million.

Other notable county-level public safety projects in Maryland have been announced for Howard County. These projects include a $3.8 million renovation to the county’s detention center. Funding for the renovation also covers design work for a new mental health unit. Other public safety initiatives include locating sites for additional new fire station construction projects.

California’s Office of Exposition Park Management (OEPM) is in the planning phase of a project to expand the scope of public safety across the park’s 147 acres. The OEPM plans to spend an estimated $8 million on a park-wide surveillance system capable of monitoring the full dimensions of the state park, which also serves as a multi-venue campus for large cultural events.

Between 2023 and 2025, the city of Baltimore will spend millions of dollars on technology updates to enhance public safety. Approximately 220 surveillance cameras throughout the city will be replaced, and the rest will be put on a rotation for replacement. During that period, Baltimore also will spend more than $8 million on a project to replace Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) technology across the entire city.

Increasing alertness to pedestrian safety is a high priority in many communities. The city of Cincinnati will double its annual investment in pedestrian safety following last year’s shocking uptick in the number of individuals who were struck by cars. The city’s budget allocates a total of $1 million for a network of speed cushions to be installed in streets to slow motorists.

Last year a young pedestrian was struck by a vehicle in Alpena, Michigan, and measures are underway to curtail similar tragedies. City officials are advancing a $350,000 project to update the city’s traffic signaling technology. The objective will be for the modernized signaling to usher drivers and pedestrians through heavily used intersections in slower timed cycles. City officials want the new traffic signals to be installed before the end of fiscal year 2024.

Opportunities like these reflect the renewed commitment to public safety that is common throughout America. Public officials, taxpayers, and citizens are all interested in enhanced public safety. As new technology, equipment and programming are deployed, there will be an abundance of opportunities for collaboration between private-sector partners and government officials.

Mary Scott Nabers

As President and CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc., Mary Scott Nabers has decades of experience working in the public-private sector. A well-recognized expert in the P3 and government contracting fields, she is often asked to share her industry insights with top publications and through professional speaking engagements.