In times of emergency, the State Highway Patrol is ready to roll to any site with a mobile command unit .
It costs more than $800,000, paid for with a federal homeland security grant. It weighs 39,000 pounds and is as beautiful on the outside as it is technologically advanced on the inside with computers, video screens, satellite feeds; all the tools to communicate with local police, fire, public service, even utility crews.
Lt. Bruce Clemonds is the Highway Patrol’s liaison with the US Department of Homeland Security.
"You can actually run a county or a city out of this vehicle," says Clemonds.
The federal grant also purchased other vehicles located strategically in the state. One responded to the ice storms in southeast Missouri.
The main mobile unit based in Jefferson City runs off a diesel generator that sips about a gallon an hour from the 100-gallon tank.
Clemonds says that during emergencies, it is staffed 24-hours a day with rotating 12-hour shifts. He has squeezed as many as 16 people on the unit at one time.
"It was crowded, but we got along and everything was fine," Clemonds jokes. "It’s not the optimum way to operate. Normally we probably would have six to eight (people inside)."
The patrol showed off the vehicle during the recent visit of US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.