HAGERSTOWN —A combination of federal grants and drug seizure money will be used to purchase an emergency communications and command vehicle, following a unanimous vote Tuesday by the Washington County Board of Commissioners.
The $589,418 to purchase the 42-foot vehicle from Atlantic Emergency Solutions Inc. of Manassas, Va., is coming from a Department of Homeland Security grant and $260,000 in money seized by the County Narcotics Task Force, said Division of Emergency Services Director Kevin Lewis.
“That was supported by our local criminal element,” County Administrator Gregory B. Murray said of the drug money used to buy the vehicle.
“All emergency entities in the county will have access to the vehicle,” Commissioners President Terry Baker said in the discussion before the vote.
Lewis said the City of Hagerstown has an aging mobile command vehicle, essentially a converted Winnebago, and his division has a trailer that can be towed to the scene of an emergency.
The new mobile command vehicle will have state-of-the-art communications equipment that will allow for communication with different agencies in the county, as well as agencies in other counties and states, according to a memorandum prepared for the board of commissioners.
The purchase was made using another jurisdiction’s contract, the Houston Galveston Area Council, an association of local governments from 13 Texas counties, according to the memorandum. The Washington County Code allows the commissioners to purchase goods and services through another government entity and the Houston Galveston Area Council took the lead in soliciting the bid, the memorandum said.
“The county will benefit with direct cost savings ... because of the economies of scale this large buying group has leveraged,” the memorandum said.
It will take about nine months for the vehicle to be built and delivered, Lewis said.