Shawnee purchasing new two-way radios for $1.2 million

Shawnee is getting new two-way radios for its core departments at city hall.

The city is working out a cooperative purchasing agreement with Johnson County Emergency Management and Communications to purchase the radios for nearly $1.2 million for the city’s police, fire, parks and public works departments. Shawnee’s costs will be funded by the Johnson County Courthouse Sales Tax.

Johnson County has developed the cooperative purchasing agreement with Motorola for all Johnson County agencies, according to city documents. The agreement includes pricing discounts and bundled packages.

Shaun Miller, Shawnee police captain, said the city staff’s current radios have antiquated technology.

City staff noted that the cooperative agreement will also allow for interoperability between all Johnson County public safety agencies and other regional public safety agencies.

The city of Shawnee has been in a radio agreement with Motorola, managed through Johnson County, for nearly a decade, according to city documents. The service life of the city’s current radio units will end in December, and Motorola will no longer support the current models the city is using due to changes in technology.

“Radio communications are essential to the safe and effective response of any first responder to a call for service,” city staff wrote in a memo. “The ability of interoperable communication between the different public safety entities allows for a more unified response, better use of resources, and overall more effective approach to handling emergency situations.”

Here is a cost breakdown by department:

  • Police (including upgrades to dispatch): $703,135
  • Fire: $376,654
  • Public works: $81,179
  • Parks: $30,374
  • Community development & city hall: $8,634

The Shawnee council on Monday unanimously approved the purchasing agreement.

Before the vote, Councilmember Eric Jenkins asked if there is value in the old radios and if the city may repurpose or sell them. Police Capt. Shaun Miller said Motorola does not want the old radios back because it is “antiquated technology,” but a vendor in Colorado may be interested in purchasing them.

Miller noted that city staff is also considering keeping a handful of old radios for volunteers to use during the city’s large events.

There was no public comment on the agreement.