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Electric vehicles patrol Hartsfield-Jackson

By Maria Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

On electric, three-wheeled chariots, police officers at the world's busiest airport can zip by passengers to the scene of any emergency at Hartsfield-Jackson.

The Atlanta Police Department Airport Precinct last year put into service three T3 mobility vehicles.

In November, the precinct ordered four additional T3s -- three-wheeled, battery-powered standup scooters -- from manufacturer T3 Motion, Inc., which are expected to arrive soon, according to Sgt. David Wilson.

He said the vehicles allow officers to depend less on police cruisers for patrolling the ground transportation areas of the airport. He said officers can also get to their destinations faster than they would on foot, with more of their own energy in reserve.

From Concourse A, "if I ran there [to Concourse E], I would be exhausted," said Wilson. "If I hop on the T3, I would be in the same state."

Wilson said the T3s also elevate police officers a few inches off the ground, which makes it easier for passengers and employees to identify them in a crowd, and gives officers a better vantage point.

The T3s are also environmentally friendly, he said.

It costs 10 cents a day to operate one, Wilson said, and their interchangeable power modules take three to four hours to charge.

According to manufacturer T3 Motion, Inc., the vehicles include features such as an adjustable LED headlight, an LCD display monitor, and integrated LED flashing lights. They can carry up to 450 pounds, including the rider and equipment.

While the vehicle's fastest speed is 25 mph, Wilson said police officers can travel only up to 12 mph on the Airport Precinct's T3s.

According to Wilson, he and another officer worked with Doug Strachan, manager of the Innovations Unit at Hartsfield-Jackson, to bring the vehicles to the airport. In December 2008, a T3 vehicle was tested at the airport, and driven more than 260 miles. Shortly after the pilot project, the precinct acquired two more.

The Atlanta Police Department's Airport Precinct "plays an important role in ensuring the safety and security of our passengers and employees," Strachan said. "These devices give our police officers another tool to provide excellent customer service."

Strachan said the City of Atlanta spent approximately $12,000 to acquire the first three T3s.

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On the net:

T3 Motion: www.t3motion.com