STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
The Granite Shoals Police Department recently unveiled new equipment that will help officers better serve and protect.
Among the additions to the department are:
• a 36-foot incident command vehicle that’s wireless-equipped and has two offices with a dispatch center, a desktop computer, a full bathroom, a kitchen, 47-inch LCD monitors, two laptops, whiteboards, medical supplies, and a 2-inch receiver hitch with emergency lights, sirens, and multiple radios.
• a Humvee ambulance with a 12-foot trailer for high water rescues and major disasters. It has an enclosed rear for evacuations.
• two mobile diesel and four vapor light trailers that can be used as generators and for lighting a large area. Lights can extend and rotate 360 degrees and be deployed with Granite Shoals Police Department patrol vehicles.
• a Special Mission Team vehicle, a one-ton diesel box van for rapid deployment of law enforcement, to be used for high-risk arrests or search warrants. It can be outfitted with a bench, a ladder, and side rails.
• an electric golf cart that can carry up to six people and has a small bed in the back for equipment.
• a diesel Bobcat with fork and clamshell loader attachments used for barricaded subjects and debris removal in disasters.
• a K9 trailer with 12 separate bays and 10 units to cool kennels. It has a diesel generator for power and 110V uses. This trailer can be used for emergency evacuations of animals.
• a radar speed trailer that’s solar-powered with a battery backup and can be deployed by Granite Shoals Police Department patrol vehicles.
Captain Chris Decker helped obtain the equipment valued at more than $900,000.
The department received the equipment as part of the National Defense Authorization Act that authorizes the Secretary of Defense to transfer excess Department of Defense property to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies with special emphasis given to counter-drug and counter-terrorism.
The Granite Shoals Police Department has been using this program for one year.
“It’s like a big Amazon store,” he said. “You have to justify – for every item — there’s a reason why your department needs that equipment.”
Decker noted that if the police department no longer wants the Humvee, it must return it to the Department of Defense.
The rest of it belongs to the city.
“If it no longer serves a purpose to us, we can liquidate it or transfer it to another agency or department,” he added.
Decker said the Department of Defense has the equipment as a surplus and allows other agencies to request it for their use to help their communities.
“There’s anything you can imagine,” he said.
The federal government has set up a process that allows local and state agencies to submit applications for the equipment. Even then, there’s no guarantee the requests will be granted, Decker said.
If there are minor issues with the equipment, such as mechanical, the Granite Shoals Police Department has funds set aside for repairs, Decker said.
The equipment can also be used to assist Granite Shoals’ neighbors. Decker recalled the fires and the flood of 2018 that affected Llano, Kingsland, Marble Falls, and Burnet, noting those emergencies required specialized equipment able to travel through rough terrain.
“We can provide equipment to help them,” he said. “If there’s a major event anywhere, we can respond. We’re hoping we never have to use them.”