Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell explores purchase of 3-wheeled scooter

CINCINNATI – You may be seeing peculiar, three-wheeled vehicles, mounted by a Cincinnati police officer at a crowded intersection or at an indoor shopping mall near you soon.

Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell wants to buy two, three-wheeled vehicles for the department. They look pretty much like the Segways the department already has, but Blackwell insists they serve a greater and more functional purpose.

The vehicles, made by the California company T3 Motion , are in service across the country in airports, convention centers, mall parking lots and universities or at other environments that call for a police presence in areas that are difficult for a standard police cruiser to patrol.

The scooters are essentially Segways on steroids.

It’s a community-policing tool that consumes less energy than a police cruiser and is more practical than a mounted horse, Blackwell said. The vehicle, the T3 Vision, is an electric standup vehicle (ESV) and produces zero gas emissions, according to the company.

What also attracts Blackwell to the vehicle, he said, is they are easier to mark with police insignias and light bars, compared to the conventional Segway, he said. They are already in use at the New York Police Department and the Miami Police Department. They cost anywhere between $8,000 to $12,000, Blackwell said.

“I think we need we those, because I’m going to put more officers in direct connection with people,” Blackwell said. “Beat officers can have these and ride them for a couple of hours, especially around UC – guys will get worn out walking a large beat all day otherwise.”

Specifications according to the company include:

  • Electric Vehicle: Zero gas emissions, Clean energy vehicle
  • Easy to Operate: Simple and intuitive to drive
  • Economical: Operates for less than 10 cents per day
  • Unlimited Range: Field swap-able power modules
  • Charge Time: 3 - 4 hours
  • Enhanced Visibility: 9-inch raised platform offers visibility above the crowd
  • Agility: Zero-degree turning radius
  • Integrated LED Lighting: Headlights, Brakelights, Running lights, and Emergency lights
  • Speed Range: User Selectable range at 5 mph, 8 mph, 10 mph, 12 mph or Max (up to 12 mph)
  • Cargo Capacity: 300 pounds (rider and equipment)

Unlike the Segway, which is a two-wheeled vehicle requiring meticulous balance, the T3 sits securely on three wheels.

“I have always liked that vehicle for a number of reasons,” Blackwell said. “Namely, you can’t fall off it like you can a Segway.”

Most Segways are black or dark and lack any kind of light package, and the rear tires on the T3 Vision are motorcycle grade, Blackwell said. Different from horses, which make officers soar above a crowd, or motorcycles and bicycles, which place them below pedestrians, the T3 Vision place riders 9 to 12 inches above the ground — high enough to see over people without frightening them, Blackwell said.

“That instantly makes an officer who is 5'4" makes them 6’4" as he or she goes through parking lots and malls – it makes an officer more visible,” Blackwell said. “It’s clearly marked as a police vehicle.”
 

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