Mobile command centers are used for multiple applications, such as controlling crowds, by both large and small agencies.
In Rockville, MD, the city police department relies on a 24-ft. motor coach mobile communications center from Dodgen Industries. “By using the mobile communications center, we can staff it with an additional dispatcher and run all our special events on a separate channel,” which prevents the disruption of regular police activities, according to Lt. Bob Rappaport, homeland security and emergency preparedness director at the Rockville PD.
Representatives from the fire/rescue service, public works, and the parks and recreation division also use the command center during special municipal events.
Rappaport urges that before agencies purchase a command center, they should spend time studying vendors and defining how they will potentially use it, communicate with agencies that have already acquired the vehicle, and develop a strong mission when applying for funding.
Massachusetts State Police (MSP) relies on a 53-ft., $1.5 million trailer from Oshkosh Specialty Vehicles equipped with such things as six separate communications models, 15 workstations with Internet and intranet, and a 20-ft. light tower with surveillance capabilities.
During the playoff series involving the Boston Red Sox, MSP positioned the command center in the middle of a street, using a communications patch to enable state police–on 800 MHz. radio–to talk with the Boston PD on 400 MHz. radios.
In addition, during the 2004 Democratic National Convention, the MSP was used to oversee power coordination, equipment operations, and deployment operations as well as real-time video from helicopters and city surveillance cameras.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from Law Enforcement Technology (03/07) ;Vol. 34, No. 3, P. 50; Mertens, Jennifer.