Safety deposit: Red River Bank donates bus to Alexandria police

Alexandria, LA (February 9, 2012) - Red River Bank of Alexandria donated a mobile banking center to the city Police Department to use as a new mobile emergency operations center.

The gift was announced Wednesday.

Blake Chatelain, president of Red River Bank, said the bank purchased a new mobile unit several months ago to replace its original mobile banking center. The bank looked into selling the older mobile center, which first was purchased in 2003, before deciding to donate it to the Police Department.

"We are so appreciative for what our Police Department and our mayor does to make this a great place to live," Chatelain said.

Alexandria Mayor Jacques M. Roy and Alexandria Police Chief Loren M. Lampert both expressed their appreciation to Chatelain and Red River Bank for the donation of a needed asset.

"The city was in great need of this," Roy said. "It's an important item that will help the men and women in the field."

Once the new operations center is converted, Roy said, it will be comparable to the mobile command center owned by the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office and a great improvement over the operations center currently used by the Police Department.

"The next time you see it, it may not look exactly the same and may not have an ATM in it," Lampert joked.

The Police Department, however, can use some of the existing elements of the unit. The safe could be used by police officials to store evidence. The handicap entrance could be used to place the department's robot into the field during dangerous situations.

Not only will the emergency operations center be used during "critical events," Lampert said, it also will be used for community festivals and events. It will feature all of the Police Department's radio and computer communications, as well as tactical planning abilities.

Lampert said the department has a SWAT vehicle, but it has never had a true mobile command center.

He credited Sgt. Bruce Fairbanks, commander of the police Intelligence Division, for learning about the vehicle and pursuing it for the department.

Police will begin retrofitting the bus with available department resources, Lampert said, but it will take time and money to get it fully equipped. The chief said the department has applied for several U.S. Department of Homeland Security grants in order to purchase more equipment for the operations center.

View all press releases