The City of Carlsbad crossed off the acquisition of a public safety mobile command unit from its funding wish list for 2024 with the acceptance of a $575,000 grant from the United States Department of Justice Office (DOJ) of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) said Angie Barrios-Testa.
The mobile command center was No. 5 on the City of Carlsbad’s Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan (ICIP) from 2024 through 2028.
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The ICIP is a planning tool that established priorities for anticipated infrastructure projects for counties, municipalities, tribal governments, special districts and senior citizens facilities, according to the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration (NMDFA).
When the City of Carlsbad released the ICIP earlier this year, it noted funds from the COPS program was pending for the mobile command center, per City of Carlsbad documents.
Congress established the COPS program in 1994 and over $14 billion was invested in law enforcement across the United States, stated DOJ’s website.
Barrios-Testa said Carlsbad’s mobile command unit fit the COPS program goal of policing capacity and crime prevention efforts for law agencies and local governments like the City of Carlsbad.
“The public safety mobile command unit will be a hub for law enforcement related uses, and it will be a key resource for community services,” she said.
Barrios-Testa said the city would exercise a procurement process to purchase the mobile command unit.
During Tuesday’s City Council meeting, she said the City of Carlsbad Police and Fire Departments would work with the Eddy County Office of Emergency Management for implementation of the mobile command unit.
Barrios-Testa said a series of partner and stakeholder meetings would determine specifications needed for the unit.
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“On large equipment such as this, there could be a lead time for the delivery. So, the possession is yet to be determined,” she said.
She said the COPS grant budget period ends on March 31, 2024, and the city anticipated project completion by the expiration date.
Eddy County Office of Emergency Management Director Jennifer Armendariz said the County has an aging mobile command unit that multiple law and emergency agencies use when needed.
“It’s always not one of these things that’s not used every day. But, when you need it, you need it,” she said.
Per the City of Carlsbad ICIP, the mobile command unit would not be limited to Carlsbad and Eddy County as regional law enforcement and first responder agencies in southeast New Mexico could use it if the need arose.
“If we need it, we let each other borrow things,” Armendariz said.
City of Carlsbad Fire Department Chief Richard Lopez said the new command center offered the latest technology in a central location during emergency events.
“You have a lot of stuff that we need close to the scene. It will be a huge benefit,” he said.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway said the new mobile command unit would support first responders and emergency personnel in a growing community like Carlsbad.
“The goal of a public safety mobile command unit is to serve as a hub for law enforcement and to improve on responders and communication,” he said.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.