What was once a bookmobile may soon be a mobile office for the Bingen-White Salmon Police Department.
Police Chief Tony Domish announced last week at a Bingen City Council meeting that the police department had acquired a 1988 Ford bus from the Skamania County Sheriff's Office. Local police hope to use it as a mobile incident command vehicle, which Domish described as a "mobile police station."
"This whole project was made possible with a working agreement with Sheriff Dave Brown and the rest of the Skamania County Sheriff's Office," said Domish. He said that the vehicle was purchased for the price of $1.
The Ford, which was built by bus manufacturing company Thomas Built Buses, was originally used as a bookmobile for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library. It then made its way over to the SCSO, where it was turned into a mobile incident command vehicle.
Though the bus now belongs to B-WSPD, Domish envisions the vehicle serving not only Klickitat and Skamania counties, but possibly Hood River County as well. Domish said it would be a particularly valuable asset for emergency situations such as floods, fires, and train derailments. The vehicle would have two workstations installed in it and have equipment for handling hazardous materials, radio communications, and crime scene management.
The only problem is that due to budget constraints, the police department doesn't have the money to spend on outfitting the bus for these tasks. Domish estimates that the costs of doing so would run between $3,000 to $5,000 and says that they would need donations from businesses and citizens in order to make the project possible.
"We would like to use this for public relations, to take it to the fair and have kids take tours through it," explained Domish. "We're hoping to partner with the community to make this resource a reality."
Domish advised that those wishing to donate to the mobile command vehicle should contact the Bingen-White Salmon Police Department at 493-1177.