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New State Budget Brings CHP Millions in IT Funding

The enacted 2021-2022 Fiscal Year state budget includes money for the California Highway Patrol to move forward on several key IT initiatives in communications, documentation and infrastructure.

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The law enforcement entity responsible for the safe transportation of people and goods on state highways maintains its staffing level in the new state budget but will see its funding grow by 6.5 percent, with millions dedicated to technology projects.

The California Highway Patrol’s (CHP) staffing level holds steady at 10,751 positions with rounding, in the enacted total 2021-2022 Fiscal Year state budget. The CHP’s approved total budget rises from nearly $2.58 billion in FY 2020-2021 to about $2.9 billion in FY 2021-2022, with funding included for several significant technology projects. (At a “Virtual Member Briefing on the New State of California Budget” July 22, e.Republic* Executive Vice President Alan Cox and Deputy Chief Innovation Officer Joe Morris examined tech spend across the state and walked attendees through a series of slides with details about the budget.) Among the funding for IT initiatives:

  • $14.2 million for ongoing maintenance and operations of CHP’s wireless in-car camera system, with ongoing funding for 12 previously approved positions. According to a budget change proposal (BCP) from January, the project was initially authorized with the Budget Act of 2018, which greenlighted 12 positions and $52.5 million for a three-year implementation. Maintenance, per the BCP, “begins in Fiscal Year 2021/22 and requires permanent funding.” The project replaced “standalone DVD” mobile systems in patrol cars with high-res recording solutions and the option of integrating with body-worn cameras. The positions will oversee maintenance of 3,600 in-car camera systems.
  • $8.6 million in “permanent augmentation from the Motor Vehicle Account,” according to a slide, to replace portable radios and accessories that have exceeded their life expectancies, are out of warranty and can’t be serviced. A BCP from January seeking the funding proposed replacing “1,630 radios annually or 20 percent of the department’s initial inventory as baseline for continuing replacement of aging radios,” calling the project “vital” to the CHP’s mission. The agency’s current Motorola APX portable radios have been in use since early 2015 and “are showing signs of wear and tear,” while needed accessories like batteries and lapel microphones are “insufficient to fully support continuing needs.”
  • $2.3 million in 2021-22, a one-time augmentation, and $2.2 million in 2022-23, for “cost increases associated with services delivered by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Public Safety Communications (Cal OES-PSC), related to the Dispatch Radio Console Replacement Project approved in FY 2018-19. This, too, appeared in a BCP in January and reflects the need to compensate Cal OES-PSC for restoration and replacement work on communications equipment and radio consoles. Equipment failures in this area have meant “requests for assistance received from the 911 system could not be communicated by dispatchers,” per the BCP.
  • $3.5 million for the ongoing licensing and subscription of the department’s records management system (RMS). This comes in response to a federal mandate that required all law enforcement agencies to submit statistical crime data in electronic format starting Jan. 1, according to a BCP from January. CHP received a $4.5 million Federal Justice Assistance Grant in FY 2019-2020 to buy an RMS capable of complying with the National Incident-Based Reporting System – but additional funding was needed for ongoing licensing and maintenance costs. Continued use of the RMS, the BCP said, will enable the expansion of telework as staff is able to enter or audit data remotely.
  • $339,000 in reappropriated Motor Vehicle Account (MVA) funding for “working drawings” of the Sawtooth Ridge site for CHP’s Enhanced Radio System (CHPERS) Phase 1 Replace Towers and Vaults project. This phase of the replacement “has been delayed due to challenges in acquiring the site.” An update is needed “to address deteriorating radio communications infrastructure and to improve radio interoperability among various public safety agencies,” according to a BCP from April. Total project cost is estimated at more than $7.7 million from the MVA, including $633,000 for working drawings. Current project schedule estimates preliminary plans will be completed in September, working drawings approved in April and construction from September 2022 to April 2024.
*e.Republic is the parent company of Techwire.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Techwire.