N.M. department goes mobile in style
All-terrain mobile command center with the comforts of home
By Sharna Johnson
The Clovis News Journal
Reprinted with permission from Freedom Newspapers of N.M.
CLOVIS, N.M. — The Clovis Police Department’s new mobile command center will make it possible for commanders to operate on-scene during major incidents and events, Chief Dan Blair said.
Designed to provide police a central, portable location for communications and strategic planning, the vehicle can be used during large public events such as Fourth of July celebrations, at crime scenes, in sobriety checkpoints or during disasters, Blair said.
“There are all kinds of functions we can use this for,” he said. “It’s kind of endless.”
The vehicle would have been useful in the scenario presented by the March 23 tornado that killed two people in Clovis and damaged about 500 buildings, Blair said.
Delivered last week, the unit still needs some computer and radio programming but can be used at any time, said Lt. John Corley, who was trained on the unit.
The department began the process of getting the unit almost three years ago, working to satisfy criteria to obtain Homeland Security funding, Blair said.
“You have to spec it out, and you have to know how much money to ask for,” he said.
Blair said the unit was funded by federal monies.
“There are all kinds of functions we can use this for,” Clovis Chief Dan Blair said. “It’s kind of endless.” Above: Tacoma, Wash.'s mobile command unit at a crime scene outside of the Tacoma Mall, Nov. 20, 2005.
“I don’t even think right now we’ve put a dime of the city’s money into it,” he said.
The vehicle will also be available to the fire department and other Curry County law enforcement, he said.
The mobile command center has desk space for two dispatchers to utilize laptops and three installed radios; hook-ups for telephone, Internet and electric, and an onboard computer system that can be integrated for on-scene workability.
A separate area with wall-mounted dry-erase white boards for planning sessions, bench-style seating and a stow-away table will allow commanders a place to hold briefings and planning sessions.
Remote control cameras:
Two flat-panel monitors inside the vehicle display images from an extendable, mast-mounted camera that goes up to 25 feet above the vehicle and can be operated in 360 degrees with full zoom capability.
Onboard DVD recorders offer the ability to record the feed as needed.
The mast camera allows officers to survey the area around them and the extra height provides an aerial view of streets, alleys, tree and rooftops, which can be useful in locating evidence or suspects.
The roof can also be used as an observation deck for officers.
Under the hood:
A 2008 Ford F-550, the command center is transported by a commercial cab and chassis on a two-ton frame. It has a 6-liter, V-8 Ford twin-turbo, intercooled diesel engine.
It also has a 7,500-watt diesel generator.
Six-wheel drive with a dual rear axle allows the vehicle to traverse most terrain.
“The only thing that will limit where it will be able to go is what kind of clearance it can get,” Clovis Police Lt. John Corley said.
The vehicle also offers a bathroom with an incinerating toilet and small kitchenette with a coffee maker, refrigerator and microwave. The incinerating feature on the toilet allows for conscientious waste disposal in the absence of water.
Sources: Police Chief Dan Blair, Capt. Patrick Whitney and Lt. John Corley, Clovis Police (N.M.) Department.
Copyright 2007 The Clovis News Journal