Largo Police say the city mobile command unit has served the department well, but the 24-year-old vehicle needs to be replaced.

LARGO — The city’s always popular Touch a Truck event was held this past weekend, and Largo Police are hoping it’s the last time the department’s 24-year-old mobile command unit will be on hand. 

If all goes well, LPD instead will have a brand new one to show off next year. 

That’s because city commissioners March 1 approved spending $929,000 in Penny for Pinellas sales tax revenue for the new bus and accompanying dispatch equipment.

The 40-foot-long vehicle is used as a command post for city events, crime scenes, traffic control and training, according to Deputy Chief Mike Loux.

But the current vehicle, purchased in 1998, has seen better days. The department spent about $50,000 fixing it up 10 years ago, but it needs plenty more repairs.

“It’s not a mobile command vehicle that’s able to operate effectively in the current environment, in our current 21st century,” Loux said.

Sgt. Mike Blickensdorf added the vehicle’s generator needs to be replaced, it has a blown turbo in the engine, electrical shortages, rust on the roof, and its interior is outdated.

“Technology-wise, frankly, we don’t have any. It’s that old,” he said.

Blickensdorf said the new custom-made bus from LDV Inc. won’t have that problem and will be user friendly.

“They call it cop-proof,” he said. “That even the newest rookie can go out there and get everything put in place.”

An added bonus, he said, is that the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office recently purchased a vehicle from the same vendor. Therefore, the technology is compatible and information can be shared freely between the two buses.

He said delivery is estimated to take 360 days. Hopefully, just in time for next year’s Touch a Truck.