Road Warriors

Mobility gives law enforcement command and control on scene

During the Red Sox playoff series, the MSP rolled out the mobile command center to the middle of a street, adjacent to private homes. This was a time when the super-quiet generators were a bonus and a communications patch allowed the state police, on 800-MHz radios, and the Boston PD, on 400 MHz, to communicate seamlessly. This was an anticipated obstacle, so the patch was pre-planned and went off without a hitch.

The same can be done for any incident, in any town, says Domingos. A radio technician can program radios to operate with the local capabilities. "The advantage that gives us is we take the responsibility for the incident from the particular city's normal police responsibilities," he explains. "No matter how big the incident is, the city still needs a functioning police department."

When the party calls
The Democratic National Convention in July 2004 was the first test for the MSP command center, and it showed the department just what this unit was capable of. It was deployed for a little more than two weeks in the same location, hooked to land power, and the base station for all police operations.

Three thousand officers from the Boston PD, MSP, in addition to law enforcement from Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut and Rhode Island, were dispatched from the mobile center. The shift was changed from ABC, to AB 12-hour runs, making for easier scheduling in mass quantity.

The out-of-state officers replaced the MSP guys taken off patrol to be stationed in Boston for the duration of the convention. "Rather than get someone from Vermont used to the city of Boston, we put them on the highways," says Domingos.

Forty miles of roadway into Boston was shut down for at least 8 hours a day, while the eastern end of the Charles River was closed to boat traffic. The post 9/11 security efforts in then-candidate John Kerry's hometown were considerable.

In addition to man power coordination, equipment and deployment operations were all running from the command post. Helicopters were feeding real-time video records into the center, and cameras set up around the city, including the state house, were being monitored constantly. Security was tight.

"I really got an idea of what that command post was able to perform," says Domingos. "Everything after that has just been making an adjustment."

Each response is unique. Regardless of its nature, mobile command centers can provide a warrior capability to fit.

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