Mobile Command Vehicle
The Florida Highway Patrol's new high-tech Mobile Command Vehicle (MCV) is basically a complete self-sustained dispatch center on wheels, which will allow our agency to respond to any emergency, equipped with the latest in technology, and staffed with trained personnel who are ready at a moment’s notice. This state of the art response vehicle can perform in any emergency anywhere in the country, and be able to use whatever resources are available in the area to provide dispatch services, service to the public, and safety for the officers who are working the emergency operation.
In December 2004, the Florida Highway Patrol purchased the new MCV, designed by Farber Industries, which is 38 feet in length and has slide outs on each side. The MCV was first used during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, where it became apparent that additional communications equipment would be needed if the vehicle was to be an effective support tool during a major crisis when all surrounding communication infrastructures are destroyed or not available.
A special team examined the existing communications capabilities and came up with four separate technologies that would be required to connect and use for communication with the outside world in the event of a catastrophic emergency, such as another severe hurricane like Katrina.
It was determined that the following technologies were essential to ensure communications needs were met during a response:
- Radio communications equipment that would use the mobile and portable radios that was already in the hands of the emergency responders. These communications had to be easy to use and must work in all radio frequencies that are commonly used by law enforcement and other first responders.
- A telephone system that could connect to existing/available telephone lines to provide a working voice telephone system and to provide computer data access for equipment installed in the Mobile Command vehicle.
- Equipment that could connect to cellular telephones and cellular wireless data systems to provide both voice and data communications available in the Mobile Command vehicle.
- Equipment that would provide telephone connectivity, radio connectivity to our MA-Com radio system and internet access that would provide secure data connectivity to our computer systems to provide Computer Aided Dispatch, Email and Web services to the computers on the Mobile Command Vehicle
The metamorphosis of the MCV into a dispatch center on wheels was complete after the last step in the makeover process, which required the connection of the vehicle to the M/A-Com state law enforcement radio system.
With the use of several technologies, the Florida Highway Patrol not only has the capability to back up our dispatch centers, but we now have the capability to provide communications for special events and disasters where existing infrastructure is either damaged or destroyed.
After seeing the finished product, Colonel Christopher Knight said, “In this day of responding to hurricanes and other man made and natural disasters, we feel that FHP is adequately prepared to help the citizens and local agencies wherever the need arises.”