NEWS HEADLINES

Rolling resource: Command Center ready to respond in a big way

By Kristen Tribe | Published Wednesday, January 16, 2013

{{{*}}}The county’s mobile command post was parked on the courthouse square in Decatur Monday morning, but there was no emergency.

Sheriff David Walker had it set up for county commissioners to tour during their regular meeting.

The state-of-the-art-vehicle was purchased six months ago and was built by Farber Specialty Vehicles in Ohio. It arrived in Wise County Dec. 3.

READY TO ROLL – Captain Kevin Benton (left) and Sheriff David Walker stand outside the county’s new mobile command post parked in front of the Sheriff’s Office last week. The state-of-the-art vehicle will be used as a communication base at the site of extended emergencies. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The command post will be stationed primarily at crime scenes or as a base at large grass fires but will also be used as a command center at public events where a law enforcement presence is requested or needed.

Walker said it will also be deployed to assist other local agencies, as well as those in neighboring counties. Lt. Chuck Gomez, Sgt. Asa Moseley and Sgt. Blake Walls are being trained to operate the vehicle and its equipment.

“We’re a long ways from our old Mrs. Baird’s truck that we had in the 90s,” Walker said.

The county once had a trailer for its mobile command post, but it was transferred to Denton County in the spring of 2011, because it didn’t meet local needs.

At the time Walker and former Fire Marshal Marc Dodd said the vehicle was cumbersome and could not be set up as needed in some parts of the county.

The new command post is outfitted with the latest technology and equipment, allowing dispatch to run the 911 system from inside if necessary.

“We can do everything in here that we can do in dispatch,” Walker said.

There is a meeting room in the back of the vehicle, a small kitchenette and bathroom in the middle. Dispatch is stationed in the front.

The vehicle boasts LCD monitors with touch screen capabilities, top-of-the-line surveillance equipment and two cell phone numbers. It’s also set up to hook into a landline when needed.

“When you go to a scene, it’s for command,” said Walker. “Everybody won’t be piled in here. It’ll be a communication hub any type of extended emergency, this will be there.”

Total cost was $266,434 – $225,000 of which was covered with grant money. The county paid the remaining $41,434, and a $75,000 grant covered the radio equipment installed in the vehicle.

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