By Mary O’KEEFE
Through the financial support of the City of La Cañada Flintridge, the community-based Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Support Group and LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station now has a new mobile command post.
The mobile command post will be activated when there are large emergency events, like wildfires and earthquakes, said Sgt. John Gilbert.
The station has an older mobile trailer that, in the past, was used at several events including along parade routes as a proactive tool in case of emergencies. It was also used during the 2016 Creek Fire in Kagel Canyon in the Angeles National Forest.
Gilbert said the majority of the time the station’s mobile command post was used at Montrose Search and Rescue responses. But the old mobile unit was a trailer whereas the new one is a motorhome.
The new mobile command post is 31 feet long and is outfitted with desks, chairs, lots of white boards and up-to-date ham radios that work with LA-RICS (Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System). The system is able to communicate with the fire department and the forest service. It has practical advantages like a hydraulic system that levels the vehicle regardless of the terrain and sliding doors that can separate compartments. One of the most impressive additions to the new unit is an outdoor video screen that will allow information to be shared with a larger group.
In the past those in the mobile command post would have to print out a large map of the area they were searching or focusing on for wildfire. Instead of finding a printer that can accommodate printing a large map, the entire process is now as easy as dragging and dropping the information onto a computer that can be shared on the exterior screen.
Wildfires, other natural disasters and search and rescue responses are going to benefit from the mobile command post but there are other areas where it can be of value.
“If there is a barricade incident where our Special Enforcement Detail would be called out, our crisis negotiation [team] can work out of the [post] and we [all] can get briefed on what is going on,” Gilbert said.
The mobile command unit costs $402,000 and is similar to a mobile command post in Santa Clarita. Gilbert, along with others from the station including MSAR members John Camphouse and Will Richards, researched and advised on the best equipment and design of the vehicle. The fact that the mobile command post was purchased taking the opinions of the personnel into consideration was not lost on Gilbert.
“It means a lot to all of us and by default to the community to have [this vehicle],” Gilbert said.
He added the support for this mobile command post by the City of La Cañada Flintridge, the CV Sheriff’s Support Group and the office of Supervisor Barger will help deputies do their jobs.