By YAWEN MAIER
The UMW police department have a new tool in their efforts to patrol the University of Mary Washington campus: a T3-series electric stand-up vehicle, added at the end of July by President Rick Hurley to increase police visibility and make officers more approachable.
The T3 is similar to the Segway but is easier to maneuver according to DeLoatch.
“The T3 is safer than the Segway, which is based on body movements. This has 3 wheels so it’s a lot more stable,” said DeLoach
“I got the idea after spending a weekend on my boat at National Harbor Marina in D.C where they use an identical machine to patrol the pier,” said Hurley. “I thought it would be great here because of our relatively flat campus walk and the fact that I want our police officers out of their cars and visible to the students.”
UMW police business manager James DeLoatch bought the vehicle for around $8,500. Hurley specifically designated the amount of money for the purchase of the T3.
The main purpose of the T3 is to increase police visibility according to both DeLoatch and Hurley.
“It is also a good conversation piece and makes the officers more approachable” stated DeLoatch.
DeLoatch also added that UMW is currently the only institution nearby to have a T3, the next closest one is at a university in Richmond, Virginia.
The T3 patrols up and down College Avenue on sunny days and when staff permitting. The T3 does not run during inclement weather, according to DeLoatch.
DeLoatch trains all officers before the operation of the T3 for safety purposes.
“The training usually takes about 30 minutes. The operation of the vehicle is pretty simple once you get the hang of it,” DeLoach said.
Two rechargeable batteries power the T3 and takes around 3 to 4 hours to charge fully. It has a range of 25 miles per charge, operating for less than 10 cents per day according to the T3 website.
The T3 has a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour but is kept around 10 miles per hour when patrolling campus to ensure everyone’s safety according to DeLoatch.
Students have mixed opinions of the T3. Junior Meg Dumlao suggested that police on bicycles would be more efficient and less costly for the school.
Hurley responded that the school has already tried the bicycle approach but too many accidents resulted in officers missing work.
Senior Lauren Kim agrees with DeLoatch and Hurley, “They are definitely more visible and I would rather have the T3 patrolling College Ave than a police cruiser.”
She also added that the officers on the T3 are more approachable and are easier to start a conversation with them.
“As we change as a university, the police department changes also. That way we can make sure we go to the future together and look good doing it,” said Deloatch.