Ken Carlson

County Pulse: Stanislaus County purchase to enhance response to terrorist incidents and crime scenes

Stanislaus County’s Office of Emergency Services, on behalf of the Sheriff’s Department, is buying a specialized vehicle prepared to respond in the worst disasters – chemical, biological, nuclear and explosive.

The vehicle, costing $180,248, including sales tax, will be purchased with Homeland Security grant funds because it enhances the capability of preventing or responding to threats of terrorism.

But local authorities can also use the vehicle for processing, storing and transporting evidence collected at crime scenes.

Sheriff Adam Christianson said that evidence collection and storage is the primary purpose of the vehicle, and the purchase was not prompted by recent terrorist acts in the U.S. or overseas.

Since the county is using Homeland Security money, the vehicle can be dispatched to assist authorities in other counties, he said.

If there is an attack or crime involving a biological agent, investigators in hazmat suits would collect samples of the agent and use the vehicle to safely process and transport the evidence.

“It actually doubles as a smaller command post,” Christianson added. “It has seating, technology, radios and a whiteboard. It’s a smaller version of our large command post.”

County OES is buying the vehicle from Wisconsin-based LDV Inc., which makes everything from mobile command centers to medical vehicles and tool trucks.

Though terrorism has most often targeted large cities for maximum effect, attacks by self-radicalized individuals conceivably raise the threat level in smaller U.S. cities.

Last month the FBI said Faisal Mohammad, who stabbed four people at UC Merced before he was shot down by police, had viewed Islamic State propaganda online before the November attack. Despite the Islamic State-related items, the FBI concluded it may be impossible to determine how much the disgruntled student was influenced by terrorist propaganda.

Knights Ferry traffic

For some reason, motorists are in a hurry to drive through Knights Ferry, the historic town in the eastern part of Stanislaus County.

Officials are considering a proposal to install speed humps to slow down the traffic on Sonora Road and Main Street. First, a study will determine whether the three speed humps would improve safety or cause undue traffic delays.

The Knights Ferry Municipal Advisory Committee recommends the traffic-slowing improvements. The county would spend $20,000 on the study and project.

Ken Carlson: 209-578-2321