Karnes County law enforcement and other emergency responders will soon have access to a mobile emergency response station after purchase of the structure was approved by the Karnes County Commissioners Court.
The mobile command post will be paid for by forfeiture funds allotted to the Karnes County Sheriff’s Office as well as funds in the budget of commissioner and emergency management coordinator Shelby Dupnik. The expected cost of the structure is just over $230,000.
“This is something I feel the county needs,” said Robert Ebrom, chief deputy of the Karnes County Sheriff’s Office. “The trailer can be used as an emergency command post or a mobile sheriff’s office, and it can also be set up at special events in the community.
“If the county has another hurricane come through and all the phones are down, this will serve as a phone system for our personnel. It is fully self contained with a diesel generator.”
The current mobile command post “is an old antiquated trailer that has served its time and is no longer adequate for the county’s needs,” Ebrom said.
He added that the new mobile unit will “help Karnes County stay ahead of the curve and it will be available to help all first responders, not just the sheriff’s office.”
Wade Hedtke said if forfeiture funds seized from criminal activity funds the purchase of the command post, “I’m all for it. But I’m not in favor of having the taxpayers funding it.”
“We want to buy this out of money we seized from criminals,” Ebrom said.
Dupnik said he can also benefit from the mobile unit and said he wanted to fund half of the cost from his emergency management budget.
“When we’ve had to be out somewhere for three or four days, I had to get a trailer out of San Antonio (to serve as a mobile unit),” Dupnik said. “This is something that will benefit the county whether for emergencies or otherwise.”