Texas Rising - Summer 2011

Susan Combs Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts | Partnering with local governments to solve important issues


TxSmartBuy Helps Police Protect the Public Purse

by Gerard MacCrossan

Firing bullets or donning a vest to potentially stop a round, cuffing bad ’uns or hauling them off in the back seat of a black and white cruiser could happen during any police officer’s shift. But without the right equipment, a patrol officer or sheriff’s deputy would struggle to perform their sworn duty safely and effectively. Making that job easier is one duty of the thousands of local government purchasing officers at work across Texas.

The State of Texas CO-OP has developed several contracts that offer the vast range of law enforcement tools at competitive prices so that local governments can benefit from the state’s purchasing economies of scale.

Brazoria County and Wichita Falls Independent School District are two of the 33 local governments and public entities that find the best vehicle or parts deal through the CO-OP fleet contract (Contract 071-A1) that supplies police cars, vans, pickups and other vehicles.

Favorable Prices

Fifteen traditional Ford Crown Victoria police sedans and four SUVs equipped for pursuits are among the vehicles Brazoria County’s seven-person purchasing department have opted to buy through the State of Texas CO-OP after shopping around with other co-ops.

“We found the prices were better,” says Lesa Girouard, a contract specialist with Brazoria County. “Usually we purchase through the state contract, but we always take a look at the pricing.”

Ordering vehicles with many options and variables is a complex process. Purchasers such as Girouard spend considerable time identifying comparable vehicles through the Texas Purchasing and Support Services online ordering system TxSmartBuy.com and comparing vehicles to other vendor options to ensure they’ve got the best deal for their community.

Local Law Enforcement
Saves with State Contracts

Want to buy or sell new law enforcement equipment?

  1. Visit TxSmartBuy to see what’s for sale.
  2. Learn more about terms of state contracts or becoming a state contractor.
  3. Sign up for emails from TPASS.

Helpful Support Staff

Wichita Falls ISD’s purchasing agent Anna Rogers concurs: “We look at multiple co-ops and ask them for quotes on the vehicles specified by the end user or pull it up ourselves on the ordering system,” she says. “We look at the state and at least two other co-ops.”

Even offering the specifications to local vendors, Wichita Falls ISD has ended up buying vehicles from the state vendor because of better pricing.

Rogers says using TxSmartBuy.com can sometimes be tricky, but she’s always been able to get help from TPASS personnel.

“Whenever you have an issue, you can call,” she says. “They are very friendly and very helpful.”

The online procurement experience has worked well for Hidalgo County’s purchasers buying ammunition for training and to arm sheriff’s deputies out on patrol, about $62,000 through the State of Texas CO-OP (Contract 680-A1) since the beginning of 2010.

“We have a delegated authority to purchase, therefore we do encourage all our end users to compare all of the co-op resources of which we are members including Texas CO-OP,” says Martha Salazar of Hidalgo County. “Our staff loves the online TxSmartBuy system of ordering.” TR

Find out if your community can find a good deal on law enforcement equipment through the State of Texas CO-OP at TxSmartBuy.com.