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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News
Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder gives members of the media a tour of the new Mobile Command Post last week.

The Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office unveiled its new tool to use for search and rescue operations, missing children, crime scene investigations and mass gatherings.

The sheriff's new Mobile Command Post was shown publicly for the first time Wednesday. The large motor home comes with state-of-the-art satellite communications technology.

The mobile command unit cost $420,000. But $100,000 of that was paid for by a donation from the Eccles Foundation.

"We would not have ever purchased anything as nice as this without Eccles," said Sheriff Jim Winder.

The majority of the price tag stems from high-tech equipment built into the vehicle. A large interactive computer screen, the size of a large TV, inside the truck allows investigators to know where any unit is at any time. A large satellite dish on top allows for phone, Internet and fax coverage from anywhere in the county including remote canyons, Winder said.

Search and rescue crews looking for a person lost in the backcountry will have better communications now and the ability to use high-tech mapping techniques, he said. For missing or abducted children and adults, a printout can be made of the victim inside the command post, laminated and distributed to as many people as needed.

A TV is also set up outside the command unit in case instructions need to be given to a large group of people that can't all fit inside the mobile home at once.

Stephen Denkers, executive director of the Eccles Charitable Foundation said search and rescue crews deserve to have the best equipment available.

In addition to high-tech computer equipment, the motor is more powerful than the prior mobile command unit of the sheriff's office.

"This vehicle can go up and down the canyons at a comfortable speed," Winder said.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com