Cedar Rapids Police are putting their newest vehicle on display in today’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The T-3 electric vehicle has lights and sirens, but unlike any other traveling device. It has three wheels, runs on a battery and will help officers patrol trails and public events.
Jeff Walter is with the California company that markets the vehicle exclusively to police departments, the government or security companies. "The nice thing about the way it’s designed – it will go through a 36-inch doorway," Walter said. "In Minneapolis, they actually ride these inside of skyways and commercial buildings as well as out on the streets and sidewalks."
Cedar Rapids Police bought the $12,000 vehicle with a grant. Captain Bernie Walther, who will oversee the T-3, said using such scooters during public events will give officers more speed in getting through large crowds where they can’t drive a squad car. And, because it’s a raised platform, it provides better visibility when a lot of people are around.
"We’ve had this here for a couple of weeks now and we’re getting used to it," Walther said. "The officers are kind of playing with it and everybody who’s gotten on this thing so far likes it." Walther is still working on when and where Cedar Rapids Police will use the T-3, but it’s likely that citizens will see it out on trails or perhaps on downtown sidewalks.
The T-3 can go up to 20 miles an hour and operates all day on about 10 cents worth of electricity. Police departments in Minneapolis and Chicago are using the T-3, but the vehicle in Cedar Rapids is the first of it’s kind in Iowa.