New police command bus gets first run

Half-million dollar bus has satellite links, Wi-Fi

INDIANAPOLIS - Police spent the evening testing Wi-Fi download speeds on a new mobile command bus that rolled out on its first mission for the Circle of Lights event in downtown Indianapolis.

“It feels pretty good, I mean everything seems to be working,” said Indianapolis Department of Homeland Security Chief Gary Coons.

The $500,000 bus has a side panel that slides out to provide additional space, similar to modern campers.

Coons said it allows police and other public safety forces to quickly move computers, cameras and other equipment into SWAT standoffs, searches for missing children or events that draw major crowds.

“You would have to work out of your cars or everyone was kind of doing their own little thing separately, so now this allows us to all be in one space and work together,” said Coons.

He said the new technology also includes computer mapping and smart boards that allow police to mark up maps and then quickly print them, which should come in handy on searches for missing people.

The satellite connection will help police avoid sluggish data connections when large crowds are taxing cellular towers.

“When you have an event like this, everybody’s on their phones snapping pictures, sending to Twitter, sending to Facebook immediately.  So that kind of bogs down the system for us when we’re looking at cameras, when we’re trying to see different kinds of feeds.  So, with the satellite, it keeps us off that network and has a separate network that will pull down that information,” Coons said.

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