Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

TO:

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUCIL

FROM: DENNIS McLEAN, DIRECTOR OF FINANCE AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

DATE: JUNE 3, 2003

SUBJECT: PROPOSED WIRELESS EMERGENCY NETWORK

RECOMMENDATION

  1. Authorize an appropriation of $56,000 during FY 2002-2003 from the California Law Enforcement Equipment Program grant funds for payments to Palos Verdes on the Net (hereafter "PVNET") to perform services regarding the creation of a wireless emergency network (hereafter referred to as the "WEN") and for the purchase of a wireless antenna system from SMC Networks.
  2. Authorize the Mayor to execute the attached First Amendment To Computer Network Services Agreement between the City and PVNET.

BACKGROUND AND DISCUSSION

CLEEP Grant Funds

The City received about $115,000 during FY 2000-2001 from the State of California pursuant to the California Law Enforcement Equipment Program (CLEEP). The CLEEP monies are restricted grant funds appropriated to local agencies for the purchase of high-technology equipment for public safety. Like most every city in Los Angeles County that has public safety services provided by the County Sheriff’s, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes passed through all of the FY 2000-2001 allocation to the Sheriff’s Department for the LARCIS computer database to enhance the sharing of confidential records between all law enforcement agencies.

The City received $42,944 of CLEEPS funds in FY 2001-2002. The City appropriated the entire FY 2001-2002 CLEEP grant and filed the necessary report to the State Controller’s office describing the proposed WEN project. The filing of the CLEEP grant report to the State Controller’s office included the required written consent of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department regarding the proposed WEN. The City has spent about $8,000 for the design and purchase of wireless technology equipment to conduct the first phase of the wireless pilot project test of a proposed WEN.

Proposed Wireless Emergency Network

If the pilot project test of the WEN is successful, wireless technology could provide emergency communications between City Hall, the location of the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), with the Lomita Sheriff’s station and designated City park facilities that could serve as alternate EOC locations. Hesse Park and Ladera Linda are designated as triage centers in accordance with the City’s Emergency Management Plan. Hesse Park is also the designated secondary EOC site. Staff and PVNET believe that the WEN could provide voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) phone connectivity, as well as the real time electronic digital connection for transmission of email, digital photos and video-streams between the Lomita Sheriff’s station, Hesse Park, Ladera Linda, City Hall and emergency field personnel. Vehicles could easily be fitted with roof antennas to enable emergency field personnel to use laptop PC’s for voice and data communications from the field (e.g. digital video and pictures of field conditions in the event of an emergency event) to the EOC using the WEN. The WEN would be vital for voice and data communications in the event commercial telephone and cellular phone systems fail.

As the first phase of the wireless pilot project, PVNET has established wireless phone connectivity between City Hall and the FAA Radar domes. Voice and data connectivity was successfully tested from a vehicle parked at the radar domes with the City Hall network. Also, line of sight connectivity was verified between the FAA Radar domes and the Lomita Sheriff’s station.

Staff and PVNET would like to proceed with the Phase 2 of the wireless pilot project to establish and test VOIP phone and computer data connectivity between City Hall, Hesse Park and the Lomita Sheriff’s station using temporary wireless equipment setup near the domes as the crossover site. An appropriation totaling $30,000, including $24,000 for the purchase of 360-degree wireless antenna system from SMC with signal amplifiers, four antennas and wireless bridges and about $6,000 of services provided by PVNET, is necessary to conduct Phase 2. If approved by the City Council, PVNET expects that Phase 2 would be completed sixty days after acquisition of the necessary wireless equipment.

If Phase 2 were successful, Staff would proceed with the final Phase 3 to create a permanent connection between City Hall, Hesse Park, Ladera Linda and the Lomita Sheriff’s station. To do so, an additional appropriation totaling $18,000, including $14,000 for the purchase of additional 360 degree wireless antennas, signal amplifiers, wireless bridges from SMC and about $4,000 of services provided by PVNET, would be necessary. There is a possibility that Southern California Edison (SCE) will be called upon for services to provide power and locations for the equipment, and services to mount the equipment. The successful connection between City Hall, Hesse Park, Ladera Linda and the Lomita Sheriff’s station will render the WEN operational.

PVNET expects that Phase 3 will be completed four months after the completion of Phase 2. The extended timeline provides for coordination of approvals of site antennas, connection of electrical power by SCE, as well as installation and testing.

If Phase 3 were successful, PVNET would also connect City Hall data network to the WEN to enable the access to the City Hall network from Hesse Park and Ladera Linda park sites. Currently, Recreation and Parks Staff use of the network is limited to sending Word and Excel documents between the park sites and City Hall via attachments to email messages. In addition to providing data connectivity to the City Hall network for day-to-day computer operations, connecting the park sites to the City Hall network will provide real time (non-stop) monitoring of whether or not the WEN is operating. Connection of Hesse Park and Ladera Linda park sites to the City Hall VOIP telephone system, including voice messaging, may be possible and would be tested at a later date.

If the entire project is deemed successful and if the City Council so chooses, Staff and PVNET would be willing to meet with appropriate staff of neighboring Peninsula cities, the Los Angeles County Fire District and other agencies to inquire whether they may be interested in participating in the use of the WEN. Participating neighboring cities and agencies could share in the annual operating cost.

Wireless networks are subject to the possibility of unauthorized access, just like landline-based networks. If a wireless network is implemented, firewalls, restrictions, and procedural steps to make the system secure would be installed. The network itself and IP addresses would be monitored and guarded to minimize access, and identify problems. Wireless networks are emerging as core service communication systems utilized by law enforcement agencies around the country (including the City of Los Angeles), as well as the general public in coffee shops, parks, and universities. In light of the increased usage of wireless networks across the county, widespread public knowledge of the proposed wireless emergency network will likely invite attempts of unauthorized usage. Accordingly, if the City Council approves the proposed WEN, Staff and PVNET recommend that the City pursue the WEN project without notoriety, fanfare or promotion to the public.

Although the success of wireless connectivity is subject to limitations caused by irregular terrain and antenna locations, Staff and PVNET believe that the wireless antenna systems can be strategically located to enable a reliable WEN. Any wireless connectivity limitations caused by irregular terrain and antenna locations can be mitigated with the installation of an additional wireless antenna system located in an optimal location to enable wireless connection.

Compliance With Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code Section 2.44 - Purchasing

The proposed 360 degree wireless antenna system is manufactured by SMC Networks. PVNET possesses the expertise to assess the appropriateness of the selection of the SMC 360 degree wireless antenna system and has recommended its use for the WEN. SMC Networks is the industry leader in wireless network equipment and is the only known maker of a fully enclosed 360-degree wireless network antenna system that includes amplifiers and four antennas to provide 360-degree connectivity. Since SMC is the only source of this unique equipment, and because PVNET is purchasing the equipment for the City pursuant to the amended agreement, the purchase of the antennas is exempt from competitive bid requirements, pursuant to paragraphs A and C of Section 2.44140 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code. Any additional equipment that would be needed for the project, which can be obtained from more than one source, would be acquired by PVNET after obtaining prices from at least three vendors, in accordance with the City’s purchasing requirements. In the event PVNET and Staff determine that the implementation of the WEN cannot be completed, PVNET will assist Staff with the liquidation of the SMC wireless antenna system by bid solicitation in accordance with Section 2.44.120 of the Municipal Code.

Proposed First Amendment To Computer Network Services Agreement

The proposed First Amendment To Computer Network Services Agreement between the City and PVNET serves to: (1) amend the existing Computer Network Services Agreement between the City and PVNET to modify the rates agreed to between the City and PVNET in conjunction with the FY 2003-2004 budget process; and (2) include the professional services that would be provided by PVNET in conjunction with implementation and support of the proposed WEN into the existing Computer Network Services Agreement between the City and PVNET. PVNET agreed to reduce rates from $65 per hour to $40 per hour for Consultant’s employed Adult Interns. The rate reduction was requested by Staff to help the City adopt a balanced budget for FY 2003-2004, in light of the possibility of loosing $1.6 Million of VLF revenue. In addition, the agreement is being amended to correct typographical errors in Section 5 a and Section 7 l.

FISCAL IMPACT

The WEN would be established with use of CLEEP grant funds only. Therefore, no General funds would be required. The entire FY 2001-2002 grant allotment of CLEEP funds has been appropriated for this project in FY 2002-2003. The working draft of the FY 2003-2004 budget includes the appropriation of the entire FY 2002-2003 grant allotment during FY 2003-2004. An analysis of the fiscal impact on CLEEP funds available follows:

Table - Schedule of Remaining Funds Available After Completion of WEN Project

FY 2001-2002 CLEEP grant funds received

$ 43,000

FY 2002-2003 CLEEP grant funds received

$ 22,000

A - Total CLEEP grant funds received

$ 65,000

Expenditures for Phase 1 - pilot project for wireless emergency network (WEN)

$ 8,000

Estimated expenditures - Phase 2

$ 30,000

Estimated expenditures - Phase 3

$ 18,000

B - Estimated total expenditures for WEN using CLEEP grant funds

$ 56,000

C - Remaining funds available after completion of WEN project (A less B) from use of available CLEEP funds through FY 2002-2003

$ 9,000

D - Proposed FY 2003-2004 CLEEP grant per pending state budget

$ 22,000

E - Remaining funds available after completion of WEN project (C plus D) assuming the proposed FY 2003-2004 CLEEP grant is received per pending state budget

$ 31,000

Assuming no additional CLEEP grant is received by the City after the end of FY 2002-2003, the remaining CLEEP funds available after the completion of the WEN project are expected to be about $9,000 (A less B per the proceeding table). Based upon the proposed FY 2003-2004 state budget (as proposed by the Governor and both parties of the Assembly and the Senate), Staff expects that approximately $22,000 (see D per the proceeding table) of CLEEP funds will be provided to the City. In the event the proposed FY 2003-2004 CLEEP grant is received, the remaining balance of CLEEP funds after completion of the WEN implementation during FY 2003-2004 would be $31,000 (C plus D per the proceeding table). PVNET and Staff estimate that the annual operating costs to maintain the system will be about $10,000. The balance of CLEEP funds could be used for the City’s share of operating costs to support the WEN.

Respectfully submitted,

Dennis McLean

Director of Finance and Information Technology

Reviewed,

Les Evans

City Manager

W:\Computer Network\FY 02-03 Network Word & Excel files\WEN Project\20030603_CC Staff Report_WEN.doc