U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Building a Mobile Command Vehicle

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 57 Issue: 10 Dated: October 2009 Pages: 62-64,66,67,69,70,72
Susan Geoghegan
Date Published
October 2009
8 pages
This article provides guidance on the building of a mobile command vehicle (MCV).
MCVs have become a vital part of the public safety sector, whether for SWAT and tactical responses, crime scene investigation, or emergency operations. In building a MCV, there are a host of choices regarding size, vehicle chassis type, and interior and exterior features. The first step in the building process is to decide how the vehicle will be used in the context of operations in which it will be involved. Identify the features and functions needed to create an MCV appropriate to the vehicle's purposes. Coworkers and staff should be invited to offer feedback and suggest ideas. Examples of these preliminary efforts are provided for four police agencies in Orange County, CA; the Tempe Police Department (Arizona); and the Sheriff's Office of Broward County, FL. Planning for a MCV must include defining budgetary and time constraints. Many public-sector projects and upgrades are made possible by procurement programs, such as those offered through the Federal Government Services Administration or through State contracts. The turn-around time for building a mobile command vehicle is generally 6-8 months, so this must be considered if it must be in service by a particular date. Building a MCV also requires researching and evaluating companies who will build it. A company's strength and experience can be determined by how many mechanical and electrical engineers they have on staff and whether there are inhouse craftsmen skilled in metal fabrication, electronics, woodworking and upholstery. Ask if the company is able to provide all the equipment and installation. Look for companies that are innovative and can offer specialized expertise in technology and communications systems. Company services regarding repair and replacement parts should also be considered.