Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
Tue, Feb. 18

Mobile home serves as command center for KPD<BR>

Quick now: What's 32-feet long, 22 years old and looks like a typical family recreational vehicle except for the police markings, and floodlights?

It's the Kingman Police Department's recently refurbished 1979 motor home.

The vehicle is to be used as a mobile command center during emergency crises and at public events, KPD Lt.

Steve Auld said.

The mobile center will be equipped with radios, telephones, computers and planning supplies including street maps and blueprints of schools, businesses, residences and hospitals.

Parked nearby a hostage situation, natural disaster, school threat or a major accident, the self-contained vehicle can also be used as an information center for the media or the public.

"With the new resources this will make it much more efficient on the scene of an emergency," KPD Chief Larry Butler said.

Inside the vehicle, computerized maps of an area or a building's floor plan can be projected onto a screen for coordinated movements of officers.

White boards will be installed for commanders to log officers' names, giving them a better idea who is on or off duty during a crisis, Auld said.

During a hostage situation, phone lines can allow negotiators to talk from the command post to a suspect barricaded inside a building.

Phone calls can be made from the van back to the department, individual squad cars or patrol officers on foot, he said.

An outside water faucet, a bathroom, two air conditioners, heaters, first aid kits, chairs and a roll-out awning for shade will make officers more comfortable during a long crisis incident.

Two floodlights attached on the side of the RV can illuminate a large area for night situations, Auld said.

Available now for use as a command post for emergencies, the motor home will be used for the first time on the July 4 holiday, probably at Centennial Park.

The motor home can be used as a focal point for parents with lost children and other information at those special events, Auld said.

The command center can also be used by other agencies, including the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, Arizona Department of Public Safety and the local fire departments.

During a major train wreck downtown in 1977, police officers had to use a police vehicle as a command post.

In a recent standoff with an armed man that ended in a two fatalities, police and other agencies had to use a neighbor's garage as a command center, Butler said.

"That's a tough way of doing it," Butler said.

Normally costing a minimum of $60,000 new, KPD bought the motor home from a Golden Valley man for $3,000.

Getting ideas from Phoenix Police Department's van used as a command center, KPD used part of an $18,000 law enforcement state grant to refurbish the used motor home inside and out, Auld said.

About $4,500 has gone into refurbishing the interior, buying new cabinets and painting the exterior with police decals.

Rick Rice of R&R Auto Body did all the work for the department, Auld said.

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