As a retired Bakersfield police officer, I have witnessed firsthand the importance of having a reliable and efficient public safety radio system. In emergency situations, quick and effective communication is vital to ensuring the safety of both first responders and the public. The county of Kern and city of Bakersfield are pursuing one of the largest contracts in their history — well in excess of $100 million. And this should not be done in the dark of night.

I fully appreciate the importance of public safety communications, but even the most urgent public safety needs must be procured in a transparent and ethical manner, and that is why I am deeply concerned about the lack of transparency and accountability with the current contracting process by county and city staff overseeing the procurement of a new public safety radio system.

Lorenzo Alvarez is a retired Bakersfield Police Department officer who served from 1980 to 1995.