Gadsden County, Florida- August 13, 2012
The recreational vehicle parked in front of the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office could've seemed unassuming.
However it will soon be the county's first Emergency Management Mobile Command Unit.
That means they can take their show on the road which can be difficult in a rural area.
"When you're in places like Coonbottom and Chattahoochee, our radio systems don't reach in a lot of the areas in the county," said GCSO Sheriff Morris Young. "Now we've got the capability with this vehicle to drive right up and have that capability to make sure that we can communicate with all of our deputies."
GCSO Major Shawn Wood echoed that their jobs frequently take them into areas that aren't technology friendly.
"We've had several occasions when seniors walk up into the wood line and you're set up in a remote site for several days," said Maj. Wood.
The Sheriff's Office hopes to have the vehicle transformed within the next few months.
GCSO says the vehicle cost $33,494 and an Emergency Management Preparedness Grant funded the purchase.
Wood estimates it will cost about $50,000 to install the equipment needed to make it functional.
The planned items include a weather station, computers, TV monitors, diesel generator, satellite internet access, cell phone lines, 2.5 miles of wiring and other electronics.
In an emergency or particularly difficult case, the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office has had to ask the Leon County Sheriff's Office for assistance with its unit.
LCSO has had a unit for 9 years and it can run for 5 days without needing to be refueled.
GCSO's unit won't be as large, but Sheriff Young says it's a step in the right direction because they will be able to handle much more, without outside assistance.
Major Wood added, GCSO could even be in a position to help other counties now.
While the purpose of the unit is to be a mobile Emergency Operations Center, Wood says it could be used to respond to several types of situations.