BRAWLEY – The City of Brawley held an open house for the new Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and the newly refurbished Brawley Police Department Wednesday evening, January 22.
The event was also an opportunity to introduce the new Police Chief Michael Crankshaw and Fire Chief Chuck Peraza to the community.
The 1,700 square foot EOC is adjacent to the Police Department at 351 Main and was funded by a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The U .S. Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Fund almost delivered the total $500,000 to the Police Department renovation and the EOC IT infrastructure.
Mayor Don Campbell first addressed some of the controversy connected with the new construction.
A contractor from Yuma, AZ, did the main construction on the EOC.
“A lot of times you cannot control who your contractors are when you are using federal funds. The City and some of the contractors took a hit on that,” said Campbell. “We do our very best to take care of our own.”
“I want to thank all of our contractors for doing a great job on this beautiful facility. I want to say a special thank you to our former Police Chief Mark Gilmore who helped tremendously with getting this project started and helping to secure funding and grants. The EOC will be used for events and emergencies that we hope don’t happen.”
“This will be a center for different agencies to gather and coordinate emergency operations, including the Police and Fire Departments. As Mayor of Brawley I am proud we have a facility of this quality.”
Fire Chief Chuck Peraza explained how the EOC would work.
“The definition of an EOC is a physical location where a central command facility is responsible for carrying out the responsibilities of emergency preparedness and emergency management functions,” said Peraza.
“The EOC is responsible for strategic overview of manmade or natural disasters.”
“It could also be a significant event that has developed from a large incident and multiple small incidents that may be happening throughout the area. Information is gathered and analyzed that is coming in from first responders or dispatchers.”
“The EOC looks at the big picture. Tactical decisions are made here and not in the field.”
“Resources are guided to mitigate incidents. The hierarchy of an EOC starts with the command person, which is usually the City Manager. Operations, which could be the Police or Fire Departments, the planning division, which does damage assessment, and logistics, which are school systems, Red Cross, and transportation. Finally, finance, the bottom line, how is the money recovered for the operation during an event.”
Newly installed Brawley Police Chief Michal Crankshaw offered more information on the EOC.
“The EOC is available for other agencies, as in the event of an earthquake,” said Crankshaw. “An earthquake would affect an area, probably larger than just Brawley. We get phone priority in the event that communications go down. I think we are more prepared than we ever have been here in the City of Brawley.”
City Manager Rosanna Bayon Moore said, “We want to thank local, state, and federal partners. Without them it would not be possible to build a facility like this. We hope that this facility is not needed, but we are prepared for the time we are called to use it. I also want to thank staff and the Brawley City Council for moving this project forward.”