Clay County requests approval to purchase new mobile command trailer

Karen Newman

Clay County Sheriff Mark Empting and Chief Deputy Steve Landsem are requesting approval to purchase a new mobile command trailer. Empting explained the current command trailer was purchased in 1997 after being used during the Grand Forks, ND flood.  The trailer was customized locally for county use.  Following more than two decades of service to Clay County, the command trailer requires replacement.  After extensive preliminary research work into companies producing trailer shells and/or mobile command trailers, the sheriff and emergency manager recommended that an aluminum fish house shell be purchased and customized to meet the specific needs of Clay County Law Enforcement and Emergency Management.

The sheriff recommended purchasing from Yetti Outdoors, a division of Voyager Industries located in Brandon, Minnesota.  He explained, “Essentially it is a fish-house which they will convert into a mobile command trailer.”  Yetti will supply the 21’ fish-house trailer frame.  In consultation with emergency management and the sheriff’s department, Yetti will also construct a custom interior. Empting noted, “It will have rubberized flooring. It will include network wiring to enable monitors to livestream drone footage. We will use an independent generator to run it.” The custom interior design with specialized cabinetry housing electronics and network wiring will meet the unique demands of law enforcement and emergency management in Clay County and allow the mobile command trailer’s function to grow with technological advances.  The sheriff joked, “We are not going to be putting the fish-house holes in it, as much as some guys want!”

Some uses for the new mobile command trailer include having an on-site location for dealing with weather emergencies, law enforcement investigations and other critical situations requiring the on-the-scene presence of personnel from Clay County Sheriff’s Department and Clay County Emergency Management. The trailer will be used for community events such as the Rollag Threshing Show. Chief Deputy Landsem added, “It is the first time they have done one of these command trailers with Yetti, so they are pretty excited about going into something different.”

Questioned by Commissioner Mongeau about the choice of the fish-house style trailer rather than a camper-style during the bidding process, Landsem replied that one of the main factors in purchasing the fish-house style is its ability to be lowered to the ground for safe and easy access.  By choosing an aluminum frame rather than a steel frame, the county won’t need to purchase a large, specialized vehicle for towing.  The aluminum frame has a 20 to 30-year life span.

The Clay County Emergency Management Internal Service Fund contains adequate funds to cover the $39,000 trailer purchase.  The current mobile command trailer will be sold at the county’s spring auction. 

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