UPD gets mobile command unit

The University Police Department will soon deploy a mobile command unit vehicle to help them more effectively respond to incidents on campus, the department chief said last week.

Mobile command units, which are van-sized and tall enough to stand inside, are used by many campus police departments to house various tools and resources in order to make responding to incidents easier, UPD Chief Dolores Stafford said.

The vehicle will be operational by the middle of this week, Stafford said. It will allow UPD to respond to incidents more quickly since all their necessary equipment will be in one location.

The van was built to certain specifications to hold safety vests, building floor plans and a 360-degree public announcement system. UPD opted for a van instead of the more commonly used bus because a van does not require drivers to obtain a separate license and complete further

training.

“We decided not to choose a bus, like many other police forces do, because it seemed to be not compatible for our needs,” Stafford said.

The vehicle runs on diesel fuel, but also has an internal power system that runs on power separate from its battery.

There is an electrical power outlet on the side of the unit, but UPD is waiting for the city to sign off on charging the vehicle at Woodhull House.

Stafford said the idea to purchase the unit arose about two years ago during a strategic planning meeting. UPD then explored converting a 15-passenger van into a mobile command unit.

Since they were unable to find a company to convert a pre-existing vehicle, UPD employed a New Jersey company to customize a vehicle frame chosen by the University.

Stafford said it took about three to four months to build the van to specifications.

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