Portland, South Portland to share nearly $460K mobile command center

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PORTLAND — City councilors entering City Hall for Monday’s meeting got an up-close view of almost $500,000 in new law enforcement and emergency equipment.

Police Chief Michael Sauschuck, Fire Chief Jerome LaMoria and their South Portland counterparts, Police Chief Ed Googins and Fire Chief Kevin Guimond, greeted the councilors and other visitors outside a new regional command vehicle to be shared by the agencies on both sides of the Casco Bay Bridge.

The mobile command unit, with a conference area and communications center, could be put to use for events and festivals, and emergency situations, Assistant Police Chief Vern Malloch said.

A $490,000 federal Department of Homeland Security Port Security Grant in 2011 paid for the command center, which could also fill in as backup for the city dispatch center, Malloch added.

The command center was built for $397,000 by Gerling & Associates of Sunbury, Ohio, and includes $60,000 in radio and computer equipment.

The police and fire officials said they expect the command unit will help reduce chaos in the event of a disaster or at crime scenes, because it will be used to coordinate and communicate with responders.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

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A new mobile command unit to be used by Portland and South Portland police and fire departments sits outside Portland City Hall on Monday. The unit doubles as a conference and communications center.

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.