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Former Ambulance Turned Into Crime-Fighting Machine

Former Ambulance Turned Into Crime-Fighting Machine

Officer F. Slater Heck of the Robeson police gives a tour Wednesday of the crime scene vehicle his department will share with Birdsboro police. [Robeson Police Department]

The Reading Eagle via YellowBrix

June 04, 2010

ROBESON, PA – Birdsboro and Robeson Township police departments received a shared crime scene vehicle that they hope will help increase efficiency.

The 1991 Ford F-350, a former ambulance, was donated by Muhlenberg Township.

Birdsboro Chief Theodore R. Roth said their methods of crime scene processing and emergency response were inefficient: Officers would pack whatever equipment they thought they might need before heading to a call, and then have to turn back when they found they didn’t have the right gear.

The truck holds processing equipment such as fingerprinting and tire or shoe casting supplies; rakes and shovels; arson-evidence collection cans; and collection boxes, bags and envelopes of various sizes, Birdsboro Patrolman Craig Reinhart said during an interview later.

Both Roth and Robeson’s Chief Mark T. Phillips said the acquisition of a crime scene unit would have been impossible without the donation; a new vehicle of this kind would cost $80,000 or more.

The vehicle came equipped with lights and a radio. A Birdsboro mechanic installed a generator, which is, Reinhart said, used to supply power for lighting remote areas at a car accident or fire scene.

And the departments split the $1,000 cost of installing police decals.


From left, Robeson police Chief Mark T. Phillips, Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams and Birdsboro Chief Theodore R. Roth field questions Wednesday during a news conference about their new crime scene vehicle. Behind them at left is Assistant Di

Therefore, the chiefs said, it did not cost taxpayers any additional money.

“We were always operating out of the trunk of a car. (The vehicle) is going to improve everything we do,” said Robeson Officer F. Slater Heck.

This addition comes after the departments’ mutual aid agreement in May.

Roth and Phillips said this might be a first step toward merging the departments – or at least a test.

“I think this is a beginning,” Phillips said.

District Attorney John T. Adams praised the departments’ partnership and pooling of resources.

“It is very important that we continue to cooperate because we need to be a team in order to make a dent in the crime in Berks County,” he said.