Market Overview

Taser Competitors Complain Of Law Enforcement 'Piggybacking' Contract Process

Taser Competitors Complain Of Law Enforcement 'Piggybacking' Contract Process

The Los Angeles Police Department has already communicated its desire to equip its force with body cameras. The Los Angeles Times described the initiative as "transformative" and will "set a standard for major enforcement agencies across the nation." However, there is at least one major set back - contract negotiations.

LA Times noted that Kern County, a county just 100 miles north of Los Angeles, acquired 30 body cameras manufactured by TASER International, Inc. (NASDAQ: TASR) last year. Meanwhile, the LAPD is looking to avoid a time-consuming bidding process, so the department is asking the city's lawmakers to "piggyback" on a competitive search that Kern County underwent.

The LAPD announced it plans on buying 6,140 cameras, along with replacement parts and upgrades, and 4,400 Taser weapons over five years. The contract is said to be valued at more than $30 million.

The publication noted that piggyback on another agency's research and competitive findings are technically legal and used in other departments in Los Angeles, companies that compete with Taser are being denied the opportunity to showcase their products and compete for a contract win.

"They are running the risk of missing out on a more capable technology at a lower cost," Robert McKeeman, chief executive of Utility, a software firm based in Decatur, Georgia, that sells a camera called BodyWorn told LA Times.

On the other hand, Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff said the complaints can be characterized as "sour grapes" from losing bidders. The police chief added that he has no desire to lose valuable time in a bureaucratic process.

"We didn't have time for that here," Soboroff said. "That's why I said my first day as a police commissioner that I wanted to get this done in 18 months, not 18 years."


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