Sheriff Vernon Chinn asked Pratt County Commissioners to approve the purchase of a $60,000 used command center during Monday mornings regular session. Commissioners approved the purchase, after Chinn stated he had the money still remaining in this year’s budget to purchase the 27-foot, 2005 Freightliner, with only 25,000 miles.


Sheriff Vernon Chinn asked Pratt County Commissioners to approve the purchase of a $60,000 used command center during Monday mornings regular session. Commissioners approved the purchase, after Chinn stated he had the money still remaining in this year’s budget to purchase the 27-foot, 2005 Freightliner, with only 25,000 miles.

Chinn said he needed the vehicle as a command center when officers were required to spend extended periods of time at a crime center. Chinn indicated there was a need to have air-conditioning and heat available on extended crime scenes for the comfort of the officers and others involved.

Chinn discussed that at the present time, he doesn’t have any place to have an office if his should be disrupted for any reason. As an example a gas leak recently prompted the gas company to ask that the Pratt Law Enforcement Center be vacated. This vehicle would have provided him with a command center outside his regular office space. Additionally, Chinn when asked by commissioners, stated the city of Pratt could have availability to the vehicle when it was needed.

“We would use the command center 6-8 times a year,” said Chinn. “I have no way to have a remote office when we need one. We have several suicides and other incidents each year where we need a place to work other than on the hoods of our vehicles.

“The public expects us to have the resources when we need it… we have the funds to do it. We’re not increasing the budget and we have saved the funds this year to do it.”

Chinn said a portion of the funds saved came from not employing a full staff in the sheriff’s department this year and told commissioners he is still two short on his staff.

The vehicle, originally selling at $127,000, was being discounted because most departments wanting such vehicles, wanted one at least 40-foot in length.

“We absolutely have no way to work on extended crime scenes,” said Chinn. “We set on meth labs for up to 24-hours and we’re shuffling officers back and forth to Pratt. If we were to have a child abducted, and I hope we never do, we might have to sit on the scene for up to nine months.”

The vehicle seats up to nine people in the office complex and includes five workspaces and a host of electronics and communication gear.

There is a limited galley along with cellular Internet and phone communications, which can be upgraded to satellite.

   The vehicle has KVH/Dish Network satellite television, video switching system, two LCD flat screen monitors, an AT&T phone system, and wireless and wired Internet.

   Additional equipment includes all aluminum race cabinets throughout, Whelen LED warning and scene lighting, siren, LED interior lighting and a 16-foot Girarde awning.  The vehicle has a 7.5KW Cummins/Onan diesel generator, Xantrex sine power inverters, 15,000 BTU air conditioner (ducted), propane and electrical heating, and 25,000 miles on the engine.