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Police Mobility Vehicles

Written by Susan Geoghegan

Most police agencies rely on a combination of vehicle, foot, and bicycle patrol to effectively monitor and prevent crime. While patrol cars are the core of any law enforcement department, foot and bicycle patrolling plays an important part in building positive relationships with residents and businesses within the community. With the advent of electric patrol vehicles, flexible mobility and quick response times can be achieved simultaneously. Police mobility vehicles allow access to areas where patrol cars cannot go, providing enhanced police presence and protection. In addition, officers on foot patrol and those in mobility vehicles are perceived as more approachable by the public than officers in patrol cars.

Diggler

Since 1999, Diggler has been developing scooters designed to tackle the harshest terrain at speeds of up to 30 mph. Comprised of the same components as a mountain bike, the Diggler allows the rider to center his weight between the scooter’s wheels for optimum stability, even at high speeds. Specifically designed for law enforcement, the Diggler Electric Patrol Scooter provides officers with the maneuverability needed to cover more ground quietly and efficiently.

Outfitted with a high-performance chainless, gearless hub motor, the Diggler can go up and off curbs, fly over speed bumps and ride down steps. With the Diggler Patroller, officers have a wide field of view, the ability to easily mount and dismount, and access to hard-to-get-to places. For police agencies looking to “go green,” the Patroller is an alternative energy vehicle that reduces overhead and gets officers out of the patrol car and back into the community.

The Patroller is available in two models: the Cruiser and the Elite Cruiser. With a 600W motor and a powerful 48 Volt system, the Cruiser offers fast acceleration, and is an ideal all-around scooter. Weighing in at only 90 pounds, it is priced at $1,999. The Elite Cruiser features a 48 Volt/40 Amp with High Powered 750W motor and offers maximum acceleration and speed. A great uphill climber, the Elite Cruiser weighs 100 pounds and is priced at $2,499. Both models can travel up to 20 miles on one charge, and come with a replaceable battery pack and maintenance-free chainless drive train.

When the City of Gonzales launched a “going green” program in 2009, the police department joined the initiative by utilizing Diggler electric scooters to patrol the community. According to Sergeant Fred Lombardi, saving gasoline and money were the obvious benefits of the Diggler, which can operate at a cost of $1 per 100 miles. By replacing a patrol car that costs $25 to $30 to cover the same ground, the Diggler is an integral part of the “Gonzales Grows Green” (G3) sustainable initiative. In addition to reducing costs, this eco-friendly vehicle allows officers to interact more directly with citizens, creating stronger ties between police and the community.

“The Diggler Patroller is a fantastic community policing tool and it is also an effective police vehicle,” said Diggler owner and inventor Rob Fruechtenicht. “It transitions seamlessly from high traffic (slow speed) pedestrian environments to a high speed vehicle that’s capable of quick response times and even pursuits.”

Because the Patroller has such a low center of gravity, Fruechenicht claims it is easier to ride than a bicycle. “Riding the Diggler is so intuitive that in an emergency situation, anybody can grab it and go.” Diggler is committed to providing their customers with the right tool for the job, and utilizes easily accessible and affordable parts that can be found at local bike or auto parts stores.

Segway Inc.

With more than 1,200 law enforcement customers, Segway leads the industry in electric personal transportation for the public safety sector. The dynamic stabilization technology of the Segway Patroller provides unparalleled maneuverability in crowded environments without compromising pedestrian safety. Officers riding a Patroller are highly visible and can cover a large area at ground level, resulting in more effective community policing.

Available in two models, the i2 and the x2, the Patroller was designed with the direct input of experienced and knowledgeable law enforcement and security professionals. Operating off of lithium-ion batteries with virtually zero emissions, it is the ideal choice for municipalities seeking green solutions. With a press of the wireless InfoKey™ controller, officers are ready to patrol for a full shift before having to recharge. Available in either reflective white or optic yellow with custom “POLICE” or “SECURITY” lettering, the Patroller features an integrated lighting system (either red/blue or amber/white) with handlebar-mounted control. Other features include a rider-side access Patroller bag with water bottle and key hook, comfort mats, and upper and lower reflection shields.

The Patroller i2 is versatile enough to travel both indoors and outdoors and on multiple surfaces, making it adaptable to a variety of law enforcement applications. Measuring 25 inches wide, the i2 is compact and highly portable, and can travel up to 24 miles on a single charge. The x2 Patroller is designed for more rugged terrain and is mainly used on rough streets, bike paths, wooded trails, railroad beds, and beaches. It is 33 inches wide and holds a charge for up to 12 miles. The i2 is priced at $7,340 and the x2 at $7,810.

In 2006, after a representative from a nearby Segway dealership stopped by to demonstrate the Patroller, the Bridgeport Police Department purchased several i2s and x2s to patrol the city’s downtown business district. According to then Police Chief Bryan Norwood, the increased visibility worked well in that environment by giving officers good sightlines into stores and over crowds and pedestrians. Since initial implementation of the vehicles, the department is now using i2s and x2s in residential neighborhoods and in special event situations. “In general, if a municipality is using community-based policing as its platform, the Segway PT is the tool,” Norwood said. “It allows cops to get out of their cars, be in touch with people, and create dialog. For us, it has been a big success.”

Segway’s National Account Manager Jamie Marsh said that the Segway Personal Transporter (PT) was designed like the human brain and operates like the human body. With an advanced sensor system, dynamic stabilization process, and LeanSteer™ technology, the Patroller allows the rider to maintain balance and easily maneuver the vehicle. “It is so intuitive that an officer can get very proficient very quickly, which allows him to focus on his duties, and does not need to expend any energy or concentration on ‘operating’ a vehicle,” Marsh said.

The company is currently in the middle of a nine-month campaign that allows public safety agencies across the country to try the Patroller in their own environment. With the Patrolling Across America program, each department receives two units to evaluate for up to two weeks.

T3 Motion

In 2000, the concept of T3 Motion Inc. was founded when an experienced team of engineers, designers, and environmental specialists was assembled to focus on creative solutions for individual vehicle travel. Several years later, the T3 Series was launched as an environmentally conscious and job-specific vehicle, with more than 600 agencies currently utilizing the T3 for public safety applications.

All electric with zero gas emissions, the T3 Series ESV is a green personal transportation solution that delivers high efficiency and low environmental impact. Optimum stability is achieved through the vehicle’s three-wheel design and low center of gravity, and its streamlined profile allows access to restricted spaces, such as elevators and narrow corridors. The T3’s 9-inch platform, bright lights, and PA/siren package provide officers with high visibility and a commanding presence. It features a zero degree turning radius for maximum agility, and is designed to save energy and increase response times.

Equipped with two swappable power modules for convenience and range, the T3 can be charged quickly with virtually no downtime. The vehicle is easy to operate and capable of traveling up to 20 mph for rapid response and pursuit. With rugged construction for long life and safety, the T3 Series vehicles have an average cost of $8,990. The T3 i-Series vehicles are designed for international use, specifically conforming to European standards, with some additional features, such as turn signals and rearview mirrors.

When the new Dallas Cowboys stadium opened in 2009, the Arlington Police Department purchased 10 T3 Series ESVs to patrol the 140-acre grounds during major events, including Super Bowl XLV. The vehicles provide the maneuverability essential for effective crowd control, resulting in enhanced security for event attendees.

According to Sergeant Eric Borton, the T3 Series vehicle is a valuable resource for the Arlington PD. “As the largest domed stadium in the world, Cowboys Stadium poses a unique obstacle for security measures, and the T3 Series vehicles allow us to move about quickly over a large area when we need to. They are a great way for us to be approachably face-to-face with the community while still remaining mobile.”

In 2007, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, which provides Airport Police services for John Wayne Airport, began using T3 vehicles at the airport for routine patrol and traffic control. Captain Dennis DeMaio, who heads up Airport Operations for the Sheriff’s Department, said, “These vehicles improve our response time to emergencies and allow our officers to arrive on the scene fresh and ready to take appropriate action.”

Other agencies currently using T3 vehicles include the NYPD, LAPD, CIA, as well as several branches of the military. According to company CEO Ki Nam, T3 Motion has redefined how professionals operate 24 hours a day using clean technology. Considered their flagship electric vehicle, the T3 Series has made the world safer and cleaner since its launch in 2006, and has expanded its international footprint through distributors in over 30 countries. Since that time, over 2,500 T3 Series and T3-I Series vehicles have been deployed worldwide.

Trikke Tech

The recipient of one of Time magazine’s Best Inventions of the Year for 2002, Trikke Tech Inc. is a global distributor of mobility vehicles for a broad variety of markets, including law enforcement. With continually evolving design technology, Trikke™ vehicles provide maximum carving propulsion and ergonomics for optimal performance. This electric three-wheeled vehicle features a standing “active riding” platform in which riders use their body weight to comfortably maneuver around curves and turns.

Weighing 46 pounds, the Trikke™ EV 48v is light enough to load into the trunk of a patrol car, making it the ideal choice for law enforcement applications. The police version of the vehicle, known as the Tribred Patrol, comes with siren and lights, as well as a carry bag and special logos. Featuring three-point stability with a sturdy patented cambering frame, the EV 48v allows police officers to cover their patrol routes more effectively.

With a quick-swap lithium ion battery that delivers up to 28 miles per charge, this portable, emissions-free vehicle has an operating cost of less than one cent per mile. Dual Speed technology gives riders the option of operating in the Econo mode (speed: 12mph, range: 28 miles) or in the Express mode (speed: 18mph, range: 16 miles).

The Trikke™ EV 36v is built on the same frame as the 48v, but has a shorter battery span, and a 250-watt hub motor as opposed to a 350-watt. At 42 pounds, the 36v is lighter than the 48v, and takes five hours to charge. Like the EV 48v, it can be equipped with a police lighting and siren package, and features two speed modes: Econo (10 mph, 20-mile range) and Express (16 mph, 12-mile range). Variations in the speed and range of both vehicles may occur, due to several factors. Speed, acceleration and range are all affected by the rider’s weight, while topography and wind conditions can shorten range.

Known as the “Danish Capital of America,” Solvang, Calif., attracts a large number of tourists from all over the world seeking to experience the city’s Danish culture and hospitality. Many of the planned annual events draw large crowds that challenge police personnel and require crowd control procedures. With the Trikke™ Patrol, officers of the Solvang Sheriff’s Department can more effectively monitor and control event activities.

Sergeant Pond, a member of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department, has used the Trikke™ Patrol unit during the course of his duties and finds it to be an efficient alternative to foot and vehicle patrol. “For a tourist town like Solvang, these are perfect. There are times when a police car cannot move faster than 2 mph when traffic is backed up by a large tourist population or special event. For getting around during those times, the Trikke™ Patrol unit is great,” Pond said.

Troy Hoidal, Trikke Tech’s Director of Business Development, points out the operating and maintenance costs of the Trikke™ EV 48v are fractional compared to other vendors, making it a cost-effective solution for budget-minded departments. The EV 48v is priced at $2,199.99 and interested agencies can request a product demo by contacting the company.

Xtreme Green Products

Xtreme Green Products Inc. (XGP) is a Las Vegas-based company that offers a full line of 100-percent electric vehicles for a broad range of markets. All XGP products are designed with proprietary energy management and electric propulsion systems that deliver the power and capabilities of gas-powered engines without the particulate and noise pollution, and leaves no carbon footprint.

Their line of electric vehicles include ATVs, UTVs, motorcycles, scooters and three-wheel security vehicles that have the latest technology and battery systems to ensure optimal battery life, power and range. The company’s best-selling vehicles in the law enforcement market are the Transport Pro Police UTV and the Sentinel. The Transport Pro Police UTV is a 100 percent side-by-side that features a built-in 110/220v charger capable of holding a charge up for up to 80 miles. Measuring 113.5 inches in length, with a wheelbase of 78.4 inches, and a ground clearance of 10.75 inches, the Transport Pro has a net weight of 1,348 pounds.

Featuring a 5 KW/72 volt electric motor that can be upgraded to a larger model, the vehicle has a climbing capacity of over 30º grade, and can travel up to speeds of 25 mph. Also included are a complete police siren/lighting package, heavy-duty shock absorbers, and a state-of-the-art lithium ion battery propulsion system. Fully loaded, the Transport Pro sells for under $15,000.

Operating on a cost of less than one cent per mile, the Sentinel Police Mobility Vehicle is a cost-effective, reliable alternative to traditional, gas-powered security vehicles. The Sentinel’s 32-inch-wide compact, multi-terrain design offers safe maneuverability on sidewalks and through open doorways, and easily clears standard sidewalk curbs of up to 6 inches in height. The electric propulsion and energy management systems allow officers to patrol up to 80 miles on one charge, and the vehicle can be recharged at any 110-volt outlet in less than three hours.

The Sentinel can travel at speeds of up to 29 mph, and features hydraulic disc brakes, and two sets of headlights (one fixed, and one on the handlebars used as spotlights). Its direct-drive 3,000-watt hub wheel motor provides the quick pickup needed to effectively maintain speed on hills and ramps. The vehicle is designed with storage units to hold emergency supplies, comes with a complete police lighting, PA and siren package, and is priced at under $9,000.

As an alternative to foot and bicycle patrol, police officers assigned to the Denver International Airport are now driving Xtreme Green Sentinel PMVs to monitor and control traffic flow. According to Sergeant John Pender, the Sentinel provides officers with the visibility necessary to effectively carry out their duties. The vehicle’s “new-age” design and bright lights attract attention, and because it is driven from a standing position, the officer is situated higher. Pender said this enhanced visibility increases people’s awareness and gets them to move more quickly.

Xtreme Green’s President, Neil Roth, said the company is excited by the response they have received for their police transport vehicles. “We are particularly proud of the PMV because of how versatile it has proven to be for law enforcement in a wide range of settings. We have heard it has literally changed the dynamic of how law enforcement agents are able to interact with the public and provide a better quality of protection. In addition, the PMV allows the agents to cover a large area quickly and effectively, and they run in and outdoors with no noise or emission practically all day on one charge. We are hearing stories about how different agencies are finding new ways to utilize its capabilities all the time and that is extremely fulfilling.”

Susan Geoghegan is a freelance writer living in Naples, Fla. She can be reached at sgeofl@embarqmail.com.

Published in Law and Order, Nov 2011

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DigglerSegway T3 MotionTrikke TechXtreme Green Products
 

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Segway Personal TransporterSegway x2 Police Package
 

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