After a tough week for both the city and its workers, the Utica Police Department is celebrating its new mobile command center. The center is something they’ve been waiting for for years.
The new command center is described as a communication hub to be used by first responders in emergency situations and major community events. Utica Police Chief Mark Williams said the department dreamt of having a mobile unit for a long time, but never had the money.
“This is a seven year dream finally come true. We’ve been trying to obtain one of these for many years. But we lacked the financing until the assemblyman stepped in.,” Williams said.
Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi secured a $250,000 grant from the state and the city contributed an additional $150,000. The money allowed the center to be equipped with wireless connection, surveillance and even a weather station. New technology Williams says is necessary.
“And the reason is because if you ever have a critical incident. You’re going to find yourself working with multiple departments and agencies and you need a workspace where you can coordinate your efforts,” Williams said.
A tactic already proven to be effective after UPD tested it out on the fourth of July.
“It came in handy because we were able to do surveillance of large crowded areas. And at the same time, have a command post area where missing children were brought to us and we were able to reunite them with their families.,” Williams said.
Mayor Robert Palmieri stands behind the new center. He says most major cities already have this technology and now, Utica has the financial ability to match up to the others.
“Gives us the tools and the equipment that gives us the state of the art to compete and to bring that quality of life right to the fingertips of our residents,” Palmieri said.
Now, this new unit is not to be confused with the mobile command center in Whitesboro used to help flood victims. This command center is mostly for UPD operations.