FRAMINGHAM – Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, today, September 16, announced that the Department is introducing a new contracting policy for tow companies.
Massachusetts State Police headquarters is in Framingham.
After months of research and stakeholder outreach ordered by Colonel Gilpin, State Police today posted a request for responses, or RFR, for towing, recovery, service, and HAZMAT contracts in Troop H, which covers most of the Greater Boston metropolitan area.
The contracts will be awarded through www.COMMBUYS.com, the official procurement record system for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Executive Departments, and will replace the service agreements currently in place between State Police and qualifying tow companies.
The new process will be implemented in remaining patrol troops across the state throughout 2020.
“This initiative represents many months of work to identify improvements for our tow service procedures,” Colonel Gilpin said. “The result is a plan that will level the playing field, ensure a more transparent process, and remain consistent with procurement standards statewide.”
State Police personnel call for a tow company when a disabled vehicle on a state roadway poses a safety hazard and must be removed quickly, or when an operator is pulled over and may not lawfully drive the vehicle away from the scene. While a vehicle owner is always free to seek a tow by his or her preferred provider if the vehicle’s location and position do not cause a threat to safety, State Police make the overwhelming majority of these calls.
The new, centralized, RFR-based procurement process through the COMMBUYS system will replace the current barracks-based tow agreement system, and State Police will maintain the high standards currently in place for tow response times, equipment, and owners and employees, who will still be subject to criminal background checks.
Under the new process, tow companies will not make financial bids for contracts. Instead, contracts will be awarded based on the level and quality of service that applicant companies can provide; the rates they will charge; their state and federal permits and certifications; their storage, insurance, and environmental compliance; and other factors delineated in the RFR as assessed by the Operational Services Division.
In addition to improving the tow provider selection process, State Police also intend to update the size and location of troop-based geographic service zones for tow contractors.
Moving forward, these zones will be based on statistical demand for tow services.
Based on this new criteria, the number of zones is expected to increase, offering greater opportunities to more service providers, including smaller businesses. State Police will additionally implement a formal complaint process to aid in consumer protection and for consideration in awarding future contracts.
The contract application process for Troop H begins today, with responses due on Oct. 24, 2019.
Trainings on how to apply will be offered to interested businesses next week. State Police expect to award Troop H contracts early next year following a scoring and verification period, and a similar process will be phased in for additional geographic troops across the state throughout 2020. The RFR may be re-opened as necessary based on demand or other factors.
“Ensuring safety and smooth travel on the road is a critical part of the State Police mission,” Colonel Gilpin said. “Modernizing our tow procedures will support that effort while improving the delivery of services to motorists everywhere and providing equitable opportunities for qualified businesses, large and small.”