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Back to Archives | Back to January 2013 Contents 

Product Feature: Mobile Command Centers of Today

Note: Police Chief magazine, from time-to-time, offers feature-length articles on products and services that are useful to law enforcement administrators. This article features mobile command centers.

nusually hot weather, a drought in Southern California, and the Santa Anna winds contributed to a series of forest fires that burned over 500,000 acres of land. The Witch Creek Fire started in the early afternoon on October 21; the Guejito Fire started early in the predawn hours of October 22. The two fires merged during the early daylight hours of October 22, 2007. Before the end, seven separate fires had burned, 365 homes were destroyed, and every citizen in the city of San Diego was impacted in some way. During the San Diego Wildfires of 2007, mobile command centers were used to enable communications and continued public safety operations for the affected areas from Santa Barbara county to the U.S.-Mexico border. Not one life was lost within the city of San Diego.

Mobile command centers can be vital equipment during man-made or natural disasters. They enable quick response and uninterrupted communications. Not only are mobile command centers useful during critical incidents, they can be an extremely effective community outreach tool. Mobile command centers also can be customized to fit a particular agency’s needs.

Natural Disasters

In the worst disaster to hit the New York City transit system, mobile command centers have played a key role in mitigating the calamity. At the time of this writing, the death toll from Hurricane Sandy stands at 113. During Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey public safety officials used a mobile command center in Hazlet, New Jersey, that was provided by Verizon. That command center also has a radio network that links directly to FEMA. New York City also used its mobile command centers to patrol and assess the damage in the aftermath of Sandy. During Sandy clean-up efforts, two deputies from the Butler County, Ohio, Sherriff’s Office drove its mobile command center to the state of New York to assist public safety officials there.

Man-made Disasters

The horrific events of 9/11 resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people, disrupted communications—when they were most desperately needed, and underscored the need for mobile command centers that can enable communication between agencies. New York City’s emergency responders had trouble communicating because they were using different communications equipment without interoperability. That tragic day saw the birth of a new security mandate. The ability to communicate between agencies and entire regions became a necessity. As a result of the 9/11 Commission, the U.S. Coast Guard developed a mobile command center capability, which consists of two enhanced mobile incident command posts positioned on each coast, providing robust, interoperable communications anywhere in the world.

Community Outreach Efforts

The Thousand Oaks, California, Police Department recently sent its mobile command center to a 2012 Halloween party as a community outreach effort. Chief Randy Pentis attended the Miller Family YMCA Halloween Carnival—an opportunity for the department to continue building proactive partnerships within the community. Chief Pentis was there to listen to community members and to work with them to identify, prioritize, and solve problems, including crime and quality-of-life issues. The mobile command center, the Thousand Oaks Police Bike Unit members, McGruff the Crime Dog, and the Ventura County Sherriff’s Office K9 Unit made appearances at this community event.

Mobile command centers allow law enforcement professionals to perform their essential work remotely in the field. Here are a few outstanding suppliers who provide and support this indispensible product.

Frontline Communications manufactures law enforcement vehicles for command and control, satellite uplink and downlink, and mobile field operation applications. The company has been designing, manufacturing, and servicing customer communications vehicles for 27 years and has expertise in communications system design and integration. Frontline understands the importance of integrating complex audio, video, surveillance, and communications equipment—not only to meet an agency’s specific requirements—but also to enable law enforcement personnel to accomplish their missions. The vehicles include heavy-duty custom aluminum bodies built to last more than 25 years and highly customized vehicle coach work and optional equipment.

From SUV-based rapid response vehicles to 53-foot tractor-drawn trailers, Frontline builds the vehicles that help law enforcement coordinate multiple teams and respond with confidence. The three most common standard law enforcement vehicle platforms are mobile command and communications, Special Weapons and Tactics vehicles, and hostage negotiations vehicles. Although standard designs are available for each of these applications, each truck is designed to meet specific customer requirements. Typical technologies include satellite connectivity for voice, video, and data; radio interoperability; microwave communications and video; dispatch; audio and video routing and switching; and wireless communications.

For information, visit

LDV Inc. has been building mobile command centers and serving the emergency response industry for more than 35 years. With 10 engineers on staff, LDV intends to lead the industry in innovation and technology integration. As a result, LDV maintains 50 percent of U.S. market share in the design and the manufacture of mobile command and communication vehicles.

Law enforcement professionals have relied on LDV’s global leadership for more than 25 years. Whether it is a light-duty vehicle or a 53-foot trailer, the recommendations of the LDV team are based on an in-depth evaluation of a department’s unique requirements. This is why the Bergen County Office of Emergency Management in New Jersey chose LDV to build its 43-foot mobile command center.

Bergen County took delivery of its new mobile command vehicle just a few weeks before Hurricane Sandy hit. With numerous whiteboards for planning, satellite television and Internet, multiple TV monitors, modulated audio and video, and a heavy-duty telescoping mast with camera, the Bergen County emergency operations center was ready to respond.

For information, visit

International Surveillance Technology (IST) intends to be a leader in the design and manufacture of custom surveillance vehicles, mobile command centers, and state-of-the-art surveillance systems to serve tactical intelligence collection in the law enforcement and military communities. Each IST division is focused on providing specific solutions for the law enforcement and intelligence communities.

The IST Compact Mobile Command Center is available at a fraction of the cost of RV-style command centers. It is designed to be easy to maneuver in city streets and requires no special license to drive. Custom external configurations include overt or subdued police lighting, electronic siren with microphone and horn, and curbside mounted RV-style awning. Various surveillance and communication equipment and configurations are available.

For information, visit

Dodgen Mobile Technologies has built a reputation for manufacturing high-quality custom commercial vehicles to provide customers with the tools they need to do the jobs on which so many people depend. From mobile police and fire command centers, to Red Cross and VA clinics, Dodgen’s custom-made vehicles enable public safety officials to respond to challenges and needs in their communities swiftly and efficiently, whether that need is for a mobile crime lab or a command center to coordinate operations.

Ranging from 22 to 33 feet, the vehicles have plenty of interior space while still being compact enough to maneuver in heavy traffic situations and be driven without a CDL (commercial driver’s license).

Dodgen Mobile Technologies earned its reputation as an industry leader by not only building some of the safest, most dependable, and easiest to drive commercial vehicles on the road, but also by its dedication to customer service and support. Each vehicle is designed to individual agency’s specifications by engineers and then built—not on an assembly line—but by a dedicated team of experienced craftspeople. Each vehicle also undergoes an extensive quality check to ensure that it is up to the task when it is needed most. Choose the best when you plan for the worst – choose Dodgen Mobile Technologies. ♦

For information, visit

Source Listing for Mobile Command Center
American Custom Coach
1351 W Park Ave, Ste 101
Redlands, CA 92373
Armor Intl.
Carrera 30, Ste12-45
Bogota, 0001
Brannen Motor Co.
1080 Second St
Unadilla, GA 31091
Dodgen Industries Inc.
1505 13th St N
Humboldt, IA 50548
Emergency Vehicles Inc.
705 13th St.
Lake Park, FL 33403
Farber Specialty
Ford Motor Co.
16800 Executive Plaza Dr.,
Mail Drop 6N 1A, Ste 6N444
Dearborn, MI 48126
Frontline Communications
12770 44th St. N
Clearwater, FL 33762
GM Fleet & Commercial
7000 Chicago Rd.
Warren, MI 48090
Intl. Surveillance Technology Inc.
160 SW 12th Ave., Ste 102
Deerfield Beach, FL 33442
Life Safety Systems Inc.
343 Soquel Ave., Ste 317
Santa Cruz, CA 95062-2305
Matthews Specialty Vehicles Inc.
101 S Swing Rd.
Greensboro, NC 27409
Mobile Concepts by Scotty
480 Bessemer Rd.
Mt. Pleasant, PA 15666
Mohawk Ltd.
OBS Inc. Specialty Vehicles
PO Box 6210
Canton, OH 44706
PCO Policecars Orlando
4832 N Orange Blossom Tr.
Orlando, FL 32810
Sirche-Vehicle Div
612 Gravelly Hollow Rd.
Medford, NJ 08055
Specialty Vehicle Solutions
1475 Prospect St.
Trenton, NJ 08638
Supreme Specialty Vehicles
2581 E. Kercher Rd.
Cleburne, TX 76033
SVI Trucks
511 E 11th St.
Loveland, CO 80537



From The Police Chief, vol. LXXX, no. 1, January 2013. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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