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New mobile command vehicle enhances tribe’s emergency services capabilities

HOLLYWOOD — The Seminole Tribe got a special delivery May 27 – one that few tribes in Indian Country have ever seen.

The tribe’s Public Safety departments – police, fire rescue and emergency management – now have a 45-foot long, fully decked out vehicle with a 70-gallon fuel tank that can operate as a mobile command center for a variety of purposes.

The tribe acquired the “Office of Public Safety Command Vehicle” through a Department of Homeland Security grant. Its value is approximately $1 million.

William Latchford, executive director of Public Safety for the tribe, said the unique vehicle, commonly referred to by staff as the “command truck,” will be used as a main workspace and storage area for equipment.

“So much of what we do is away from the office. This vehicle was built to function on the same level as a central office would, with industry-standard technology. Put simply, you’re putting your main center of operations on location,” Latchford said.

Public Safety’s new 45-foot long mobile command vehicle arrived May 27 in Hollywood. (Photo Damon Scott)

Latchford credited the hard work and team approach within several tribal departments that made the acquisition possible, including Grants, Emergency Management, Information Technology and Public Safety.

Ralph Tirona, the tribe’s Emergency Management coordinator, said the command truck is rare in Indian Country. He said the Seminole Tribe had previously operated a trailer pulled by a truck as a mobile command, but “never anything on this scale.”

Tirona, Emergency Management director Larry Rogers, IT and representatives from LDV Inc. (makers of the command truck) held staff training on its capabilities just hours after it arrived at Seminole Fire Rescue in Hollywood.

State-of-the-art

The capabilities of the command truck are impressive. It can connect to dispatch services across the tribe, monitor the weather and has several cameras for surveillance, like tracking drone footage. It features multiple workstations and a private meeting area for command personnel. There are several fully automated and state-of-the-art functions like two, 10-inch LCD touch screens and two, three-inch touch pads with custom graphics for local control
and monitoring systems. It’s got exterior lighting with optional use of awnings as well.

One of its many benefits is a decreased response time for law enforcement and emergency services. For example, the command truck could respond to an affected area during a natural disaster as opposed to people needing to be transported to multiple facilities. The command truck can double as a mobile crime lab and survey an area with thousands of people. It can respond to events like flooding, wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, or even active shooter and terrorism incidents.

But its use is not limited to emergencies. The command truck can function as a mobile medical treatment facility, too. For example, the tribe has the option to use it to distribute Covid-19 vaccines, or to administer booster shots, if necessary, in the future. It can simply be used for event safety and security at tribalwide functions or Hard Rock events as well.

There are creature comforts for staff that spend hours on board – a refrigerator, freezer, microwave and coffeemaker.

A representative from LDV Inc., left, trains Public Safety staff on the command truck’s capabilities the day it arrived at Seminole Fire Rescue in Hollywood. (Photo Damon Scott)
The interior of the vehicle has state-of-the-art features, such as LCD touch screens with custom graphics for local control and monitoring systems. (Photo Damon Scott)
The command truck can be used for a variety of reasons for the tribe, including in emergency situations. (Photo Damon Scott)
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Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at damonscott@semtribe.com.
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