Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office - Hillsborough County, Florida | RFP Case Study

Background of Organization:

The County of Hillsborough is located midway along the west coast of Florida, and is home to the cities of Temple Terrace, Plant City, and Tampa, the county seat. It has a demographically diverse and multi-cultural community with a significant seasonal population primarily due to its sub-tropical climate. Many part-time residents move to the County in the winter and return to their homes in the North during the summer. The County, with a population of nearly 940,000, has a total of 1,072 square miles, 931 of which are unincorporated.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff, an elected official, is both the chief law enforcement officer of the County and executive officer of the courts. This official is also responsible for maintaining law and order, and apprehending violators of the law. The Sheriff is also responsible for the execution of all process, writs, warrants, capiases, and other papers issued by the State and County courts. The Sheriff's Detention Department provides housing, care, security, transportation and rehabilitative programs for inmates in county jails.

Description of Situation:

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office was facing several challenges including:
  • The increased information needs of its internal customers, such as various functions within the Sheriff's Office;
  • The increased information needs of its external customers, such as the County's board of commissioners;
  • The inability of the Office's system to integrate financial information with operational information; and
  • Limited support from the vendor for the Office's current system.

In addition, the Sheriff's Office was interested in improving its business practices.

The Office's system utilized a number of different systems operating on multiple platforms. These systems, which featured eight independent general ledgers and required multiple spreadsheets and databases so that payroll could be processed by another Hillsborough County office, was supporting an office of approximately 3,000 employees, more than 20 community stations, and three jails. At the time of the project, the adopted budget for the fiscal year was nearly $2 million.

In an effort to address the situation internally, the Sheriff's Office had created a search committee that reviewed several ERP products and visited other Sheriff's offices, but the Office's decision makers felt that they needed help with someone with expertise that was not found within their organization.

GFOA's Solution:

The Sheriff's Office engaged the GFOA to develop the RFP, provide system selection services, and conduct contract negotiations. The RFP and financial system implementation was named SHARP, for the Sheriff's Accounting and Resource Planning System. The goal of SHARP was to address the needs and solve the problems identified above. With the help of the GFOA, the Sheriff's Office released a comprehensive RFP for software and system implementation that included:
  • An overview of the structure and services of the Sheriff's Office;
  • A description of the then current technology architecture, including a system diagram;
  • The desired implementation schedule;
  • The detailed requirements for the new system by module;
  • A description of the proposal format and the general terms and conditions; and
  • A detailed description of the evaluation process.