Forfeitures pay for future mobile command, fire education facilities
By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor
July 3, 2007 - In the very near future, local officers will have a place to go to rest during an extended manhunt or situation requiring them to remain at a location for an extended length of time or in extreme temperatures. Also, a mobile command will be established.
Hopkins County Sheriff's Office purchased three trailers recently, two for $3,400 each to be converted for law enforcement purposes, the third for $1,500 to benefit Hopkins County Fire Prevention Program.
Sheriff Butch Adamsand a deputy in May went to get the FEMA trailers, surplus from recent hurricane disasters. Adams said the money used to buy and outfit the two law enforcement trailers was from the forfeiture fund; no tax dollars were used.
The state government, which purchased them from the federal government, made the trailers available.
The trailers have been in Hopkins County for over a month, but county officials have waited to outfit them until the titles were cleared.
While they were waiting, Adams had a shed constructed on the far side of the sheriff's office to house the trailers.
Local officials plan to use as much in-house labor as possible to convert the two larger trailers.
The smaller trailer will be used by Hopkins County Fire Prevention Program as a "smoke house." The trailer will provide a controlled setting in which firefighters can demonstrate to children how to react in the event of a house fire, using a smoke machine to filter air into the bedroom in the trailer through vents.
One of the trailers will be fairly gutted, with the bedroom expected to be converted to accommodate a conference area and to make room for all of the electronics and communication equipment which would be needed at a mobile command center. It would be used in situations requiring intense cooperation among a number of agencies, departments and officers, such as a large-scale fire or manhunt.
Bunk beds will be removed from another trailer to make a storage area. The facility would still include a kitchen, dining area and restroom for officers to take a break while at a scene for an extended length of time. The unit could be used at any scene requiring officers to stay long hours, especially during extreme heat or cold or other inclement weather.
Two generators power the travel trailers when electrical connections are not readily available.
Adams said the command and disaster units, once completed, could be made available to other departments and counties if needed. Those needs would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.