DATE: November 18, 2010
TO: Walt Wrede, City Manager
FROM: Chief Mark Robl
SUBJECT: Mercom Recording Device
The Motorola Mercom Recorder at the Police Department is a vital piece of equipment that is heavily relied upon. This equipment was purchased with Homeland Security funds prior to 2000. The technological advances occurring since that purchase, have made it increasingly difficult to keep this very sensitive piece of equipment in good repair and operational. Each time we have had to have it serviced by our radio vendor, we end up spending close to $1500-$2000 per repair call. The need for service calls has been getting more frequent and it is getting harder and harder to obtain replacement parts and software.
Unfortunately, we now have a very antiquated piece of equipment, in the eyes of the technological world, with fewer and fewer ways to support it. The need for adequate and current support is imperative as this recording device is continually capturing radio and phone traffic 24 hours a day. There is never a “dormant” or “sleep” time for this equipment, thus it is always taxed with demand in ways that other computer equipment is not.
The most recent and reoccurring problem is the DVD Ram Drive failing and not archiving our recordings to a DVD disk. We are currently doing daily back-ups to ensure we capture all recordings and we have been told that this recorder will not last much longer. When this device fails we will no longer be able to capture the vital evidence obtained from 911 and radio traffic recordings. An upgrade to current and better equipment has become necessary.
I have obtained a bid of $18,218.60 to replace this recorder with an updated, modern version. Due to lower than expected fuel and personnel costs this year the police department budget has the available funds to replace this equipment. I request to transfer funds from our personnel and fuel budgets into our communications budget and purchase a new recording system from ProComm Alaska.