Broome County unveils mobile command center

By Kelly McCarthy

May 1, 2013 Updated May 1, 2013 at 6:17 PM EDT

Town of Dickinson, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Broome County can now roll out a portable unit to assist with emergency response. It's the newest addition to the Sheriff's Office fleet.

It's a large RV that brings computers, scanners, and video surveillance to detectives anywhere they need. The Sheriff's Office compares it to a portable headquarters.

Inside the unit there are laptop work stations and a small conference room. There is also an interactive unit on the outside of the RV that can be used for briefings.

Right after Broome County bought the mobile unit they used it during the Aaron Powell double homicide investigation.

"We had all that room to work in," said Broome County Sheriff David Harder. "A place t do our computer work, evidence had to be gathered up and put in it and they were able to do it. It just became another headquarters instead of driving all the way back here to the main office to start our work and drive back out again. So it's like a temporary headquarters to work out of."

Broome County bid $150,000 for the mobile command unit at a state auction in Albany. It was paid for by a federal homeland security grant.

"We purchased this mobile command unit at a state auction," said Broome County Executive Debbie Preston. "For a fraction of the going rate, using grant money and no local tax dollars. But even so, there is no price tag that could be put on Broome County residents."

The Sheriffs office is working with officers to train them to drive the mobile unit. That allows them to use it during any type of disaster or emergency.

"I think it's a step above any of the other agencies at this time," Harder said. "Some agencies already have a small command post but since we're a county agency and may have to respond to any big emergency it's up to us to have a larger vehicle on hand."

Preston says Broome County sold 10 percent of its vehicle fleet last year during an auction.