Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco Tuesday will seek the Board of Supervisors’ approval for roughly $20 million in outlays over the next decade to acquire and maintain advanced equipment for records management and dispatch resources.

According to the sheriff, most of the current hardware and software employed for computer-aided dispatch and the records management and jail management systems is outdated, and investments are needed to ensure the sheriff’s department has technology on hand to meet needs going forward.

In documents posted to the board’s Tuesday agenda, Bianco said the Eyering Research Institute and Cobol-based systems that operate databases and platforms key to agency functions were procured in the 1980s, and a Microsoft 2008 SQL server is running some of the gear.

The sheriff said the “antiquated” jerry-rigged arrangement “limits our ability to extract and push out information or configure our data in a usable manner.”

“The redundancy of tasks by the operators across systems and inability to comply with new state and federal mandates have limited our ability to improve our operation or achieve workflow efficiencies,” Bianco said.

He’s proposing to migrate to systems developed and delivered by Tampa, Florida-based SOMA Global, which specializes in supplying high-tech software for law enforcement operations.

Bianco said his executive staff conducted research to find the optimal vendor for the acquisitions, and SOMA proved to be it. He is requesting approval of a contract without competitive bidding.

“SOMA Global has the software solution that can meet all our operational needs,” the sheriff wrote. “Some of the features that are unique to and sold exclusively by SOMA are their Native-Cloud Platform, Browser-Based Interface and Expansive/Extensible Platform. Their SOMA Platform features flexible deployment options that can be hosted on and off premises, which greatly reduces our hardware investment. They provide an all-in-one solution.”

After negotiations with the company, the sheriff’s team was able to lock in a reduced annual service fee of 2.5% for the last four years of the proposed contract, according to Bianco. The customary fee is 5%, netting a potential savings of $849,665.

The total cost of the contract would be $20.14 million between the current fiscal year and 2029-30. Most of the funds would be drawn from internal law enforcement sources, along with federal and state grants, not the county general fund.

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