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Bidding on Police Equipment & Supplies in the City of Chicago

Bidding on Police Equipment & Supplies in the City of Chicago

The City of Chicago is the largest city in the state of Illinois, with an estimated population of 2.7 million people and is the third largest city in the United States behind New York City and Los Angeles. Chicago also employs the second-largest police force in the US:  the city counts more than 13,000 officers across 24 different districts throughout the city.[i]

Maintaining such a large workforce is challenging, and it’s important to make sure law enforcement departments and their employees have the necessary supplies and equipment to help them do their job properly and to keep them safe while on duty. Chicago often publishes bid opportunities to procure goods and services for their police force and if you’re a vendor who is interested in providing these items, there are steps you need to take in order to do business with the city of Chicago.

Doing Business with the City of Chicago

The first thing you’ll want to do is to register your business with the city’s vendor portal. The Department of Procurement Services (DPS) uses iSupplier to post bids and awards, publish a directory of certified businesses and to provide tools and resources for vendors to access in order to learn more about the city’s procurement process.[ii] 

Vendors may also choose to sign up for DPS Alerts to receive notices about bid opportunities as well as outreach and networking events. These types of events can be beneficial to vendors, as it allows them to promote their services and meet with procurement officers from different city departments.[iii]

Currently, Chicago is in the process of transitioning to a full eProcurement process. This will allow vendors to not only search for open bids but to be able to respond to bids, RFPs and RFQs online, view and track invoices and payments and submit invoices for services rendered. The portal will also allow vendors to sign up for workshops that can help them learn more about the city’s procurement process. For now, bid opportunities are being published both through the eProcurement site and by paper copies; however if the bid is published through eProcurement, responses to these bids can only be submitted online. (This will be the case in the future when the city transitions fully to eProcurement.)[iv]

Vendors will also be able to apply for certification through the portal, including certificates for Minority and Women owned businesses (MWBE), Veteran Business Enterprises (VBE), Business Enterprise owned or operated by People with Disabilities (BEPD), and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE/ACDBE). Once the transition to eProcurement is complete, any business owner who has yet to apply for certification will be required to create a new account and fill out an application for certification.[v]

Bidding Opportunities

There are many types of goods and services that the city of Chicago procures in order to keep police departments running efficiently and successfully, as well as helping to protect their officers and the citizens of Chicago. For example, vendors can find bids for items and services such as:

  • Uniforms, shoes, boots, badges, IDs
  • Tactical gear, helmets, ballistic vests
  • Protective gear – goggles, gloves, etc.
  • Firearms, ammunition, holsters, targets, clay targets
  • Tasers & cartridges
  • Night vision scopes and goggles
  • Body cams, dash cams, radios
  • Police vehicles, cruisers, helicopters
  • Speed detection cameras, radar detection
  • Live scan system, license plate readers, fingerprinting systems
  • Solar powered road signs
  • Trunk vaults, vehicle rifle racks
  • K9 supplies and equipment
  • SWAT supplies and equipment
  • Dive team supplies and equipment
  • A/V equipment for the station
  • Metal detectors, Key card entry, X-Ray Scanners, Security doors and lock systems
  • Interview recording management systems
  • Crime scene supplies

These are only a few of the bid opportunities vendors can find for police equipment and supplies; new bids are regularly posted for all sorts of items and services needed by the city.

Utilizing a Bidding Intelligence Service for Your Business

When doing business with a city or state agency, it is always a good idea to register your business and request to receive alerts for open bids from that agency or department. Upon doing so, you may find that you are not receiving all the bids that match your business. The city of Chicago even states that “Being a registered vendor in the City’s iSupplier Portal does not guarantee the receipt of electronic notification for all solicitations. Vendors must routinely check our current list of bid opportunities.”[ii] This is why using a bid intelligence service is a great benefit to vendors seeking to find as many bid opportunities they can that match their business. When vendors subscribe to BidNet, they receive daily Bid Alerts® with a summary of all open bids that match what their company sells. BidNet uses a coding system that allows its researchers to find targeted bids based on the product and service codes of the member’s company. By delivering more targeted bid opportunities, BidNet makes it easier for its members to decide on which opportunities to go after, allowing them to focus more on writing a winning bid proposal instead of spending time searching for bids.

Danielle Calamaras |


[i] World Atlas. Largest Police Departments in the US. 2019

[ii] 2019 City of Chicago. Procurement Services. iSupplier Portal

[iii] 2019 City of Chicago. Procurement Services. Procurement Services DPS Alerts

[iv] 2019 City of Chicago. Procurement Services. eProcurement

[v] 2019 City of Chicago. Procurement Services. Certification and Compliance System

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