Monday, April 24, 2006

Command on Wheels

OK, I know most people consider that hearing about dreams is very boring, so none for today. Instead I’ll tell you about the Mobile Command Center we toured as part of the multi-learning bonanza that was last week’s Citizen’s Police Academy!

First, it’s big, longer than a normal RV and taller too, not even counting the sky scraping antenna (3) on the top. They fold down for travel. The actual length of the van is 40 feet long and the tallest antenna reaches 56 feet up in the air. The department purchased the vehicle with an almost $300 Homeland Security Grant. They had needed a mobile command center but did not have that kind of money previously. We divided the class into halves to tour this vehicle. I was in the second half to go into it.

We had to help the two non-able-bodied people up into the van. It was a steep ramp of stairs even for an able-bodied person. Inside the van are large maps on one side and several TV screens. One of the antennas has a camera and we got aerial views from all around the vehicle, it was very cool! In fact we could see the motorcycle cops setting up the orange cones and practicing. The back of the vehicle closes off for two police dispatchers, and serves as an emergency post if the main underground bunker is ever disabled. There are other computers and hook ups in the van but we noticed that the chairs were office rolling ones on wheels. The commander said they are secured with bungee cords when the vehicle is moving! I use bungee cords for lots of things in and on the jeep, they’re very useful. Not very high tech, though.

The main thing that really surprised us was that the vehicle has no bathroom! We women were shocked and someone asked, “What if you’re out at a site for hours and hours?” The commander said they have a latrine TENT, but it would need to be set outside of the vehicle. The wonderful technology of the commander center was lost on us women after that point! How would that work for a dangerous hostage situation? “Excuse me, hold your fire. I need to go to the latrine tent!”

On another subject: I just finished a really good book. Not long ago I’m read an interesting excerpt from it somewhere, maybe in the New Yorker. So when I saw it in the library on Saturday, I nabbed it. The title is “Breakfast with Tiffany: an uncle’s memoir” by Edwin John Wintle. It’s his first book, and autobiographical about himself, a gay man, who took in his 13-year-old, too wild for her single mother, niece to raise in NYC! It changed both of their lives and is a great, and quick (I couldn’t put it down) read.

Have you read any good books lately?

And a Happy Belated Earth Day! I went to the Farmer’s Market Earth Day celebration on Saturday. There was a celebration at the Whole Foods Coop too.


Blogger katie said...

That books sounds really good, I'll have to try and find it at the library. You would think with all that money they would be able to add a bathroom...

12:52 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Surprised they never added a bathroom, i guess they don't think like us women!

5:07 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Does seem odd they don't have a toilet in that van...guess they all goe before they leave home huh? lol

As far as books are concerned, I've been getting into reading a lot of Tess Gerritsen's stuff all that forensic police stuff. Although I will admit to having trouble sleeping the other night, cos I was laying there listening for noises after a particularly gruesome chapter lol.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Dale said...

" ...almost $300 Homeland Security Grant."
Wow! Three hundred bucks! How generous! LOL!!

7:18 PM  
Blogger sumo said...

I finally read The Da Vinci Code...once it came out in paperback that is. Fiction and was fascinating.

2:57 AM  
Blogger Magpie said...

Pig Island by Mo Hayder was good, i couldn't put it down either...i will add your book to my to do list...

ooh and seeing Lisa's comment reminds me that Tess Gerritsen is brilliant, i have most of her books, the last one i read was Gravity which was really interesting...

and talking of dreams i had a dream i pushed someone off a tall building and then was chased by spiders that turned into birds...weird


4:34 AM  
Blogger PBS said...

Ha ha, I meant almost $300,000 Dale! That van would be awefully nice for $300!

5:12 AM  
Blogger Grant said...

I agree - the lack of a bathroom makes the whole thing useless. And it should have hi-tech chairs, the kind that rise from the floor with a whooshing sound.

11:59 AM  

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