“Nothing I’ve done has given me more satisfaction than helping law enforcement in Nevada,” Reid (D-Nev.) told the group of reporters and law enforcement gathered at the Regional Training Center in Reno on Tuesday afternoon as he stood in front of the vehicle.
Reid secured most of the funds — $500,000 — through a Congressional Mandated Award from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Orientated Police Services. The remainder was obtained through a Department of Homeland Security grant.
Washoe County Sheriff Mike Haley handed Reid a special plaque for his assistance in securing the command vehicle and thanked Reid for all of the work he has done for the county through the years.
“On behalf of our partners we want to publicly thank you for your continued support,” Haley said.
The “Critical Incident Response Vehicle” looks similar to a mobile home, but once inside it is apparent that the roving machine has been retrofitted with state-of-the-art equipment for crime scenes and emergency situations.
The back section of the vehicle has been transformed into communications center, with several work stations for laptops and computer screens for watching newscasts, Twitter feeds, online news feeds, newscasts to keep up with the breaking news and plug-ins that allow the user to hook into his or her desktop computer back at the office. This allows the operator to conduct research, background checks and other work instantly, without leaving the scene of the crime or disaster, said intelligence analyst Dan Dundon.
“It’s so we can nip it in the bud,” Dundon said. “It provides ‘ground truth.’ ”
With the limited time first responders have at a location, the equipment the new command vehicle is equipped with allows better tracking with its software and hardware equipment.
The vehicle will be co-located with an incident’s fixed command center. For instance, when a major fire breaks out, a command center may be located at a nearby school. When the fixed command center’s location changes, the vehicle can move with it or roam around as needed.
The mobile command center also is equipped with a conference area equipped with a main radio and communications equipment that can connect to different radio frequencies used by rural departments throughout Nevada. The vehicle can be used regionally, outside of Washoe County, if necessary, said Sgt. Michelle Bello.
“It does have satellite cellular capabilities. It can radio anywhere outside and program into their radio systems,” Bello said. “We can program into their systems. There are multiple radios in Nevada, including federal, city and county, fire and medical.”
The most valuable aspect of the command vehicle is its ability to analyze real-time data and evidence and provide results back to detectives in the field instantly.
“We will work in real time instead of that delay of going back in the office,” Bello said. “It brings all that information together.”
The vehicle also has a mast with a camera attached to it for intelligence gathering via live video, controllable by the analysts. There is a four-channel DVR system for recording various cameras on and around the vehicle and a proposed helicopter video downlink system.
The vehicle also has a dish network for news feeds and a commercial air band transceiver so the analysts can communicate with aircraft during intelligence-gathering missions. For larger presentations, the vehicle can broadcast briefings to an outside display monitor for groups of people.
“Our community’s ability to effectively respond to any emergency is predicated by our ability to quickly gather, interpret and share information,” Sheriff Haley said in an earlier statement. “This vehicle enables us to mobilize the necessary tools to ensure that responding agencies are able to communicate with each other and the public during a crisis.”
“This is good news for Washoe County,” Reid also stated. “I have worked hard to ensure our forces have the resources they need to keep Nevada’s communities safe. This new vehicle will help Sheriff Haley and his team continue to do the good work they do for Washoe County.”
During his speech, Reid said he was proud that he once wore a badge and carried a gun for Searchlight in his early days.
“I was a police officer,” he said. “I carried a gun.”
Reid spoke about how the cities and counties of Nevada are continuing to do a “wonderful” job with the limited resources they have in today’s economy.
“Hopefully this vehicle behind us will help solve crimes,” Reid said. “It’s very important to keep up with the bad guys. Law enforcement has changed. It’s very different than when I was in Searchlight.”