Ventura County Sheriff’s officials unveiled the first of two new mobile incident command posts Wednesday.
The rolling command center will be used as a communication hub during wildfires and other disasters, at major crime scenes and for search-and-rescue operations, among other duties.
The gleaming black trailer, which stretches 45 feet, is equipped with a conference room for up to 34 people, a dispatch room with three stations and 17 radios optimized for multiple agencies ranging from the California Highway Patrol to Naval Base Ventura County.
The new vehicle will phase out equipment from the 1990s and provide technology that wasn’t available in 2018 during the Woolsey Fire, said Patrick Maynard, director of emergency services for the sheriff’s office.
“It brings a ton of technology,” Maynard said during the unveiling at the Ventura County Government Center.
On the roof sits a satellite capable of combining data and internet from local networks to provide secure connections, even in remote areas like the Lockwood Valley.
The connection will help provide real-time updates, such as from evacuation zones, to personnel at the scene and to share a live feed with the sheriff’s communications center in Ventura.
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In the conference room, a large flat-screen television with a camera provides videoconferencing capabilities. Additional monitors can display maps and other information. The long conference table connects with laptops and other devices.
Attendees commented on the new-car smell as they toured the diesel-fueled vehicle.
Feeds can simultaneously play outside on two screens under a built-in canopy during large-scale events where not everyone can fit inside the trailer.
Cushioned storage seats, built-in shelves and a separate restroom trailer help save space. Depending on the duration of an incident, authorities can request additional units, such as more restroom accommodations, Maynard said.
The custom vehicle was manufactured by Frontline Communications, a manufacturer of command, broadcast, SWAT and other vehicles. Frontline is a subsidiary of Wisconsin-headquartered specialty truck maker Oshkosh Corp.
Sheriff Bill Ayub said it took about two years, from design to service readiness, to get the new command post to the agency.
“The design is very functional,” Ayub said.
The vehicle was custom built and cost about $1.1 million, he said. He estimated it will be in service for 30 years.
The second unit is expected to arrive later this year, officials said.
Cytlalli Salgado is a breaking news reporter for the Ventura County Star. She can be reached by calling 805-437-0257 or emailing email@example.com.