Wheeling Police Department hits the streets on new Trikke vehicles | News, Sports, Jobs
WHEELING – Members of the Wheeling Police Department were turning heads downtown on Tuesday as officers continued training on the latest cutting edge additions to the department’s bike unit.
Manufactured by Trikke Professional Mobility, the new 3WD Police Interceptor Personal Vehicles – or trikkes for short – are personal electric vehicles ready for police duties when a typical police car is not the best option.
Two new trikkes were purchased for the department, thanks to an anonymous donor from the community.
Each new trikke costs around $ 8,500, and the department was able to secure a backup battery for both units, and officials thanked anonymous donors for making the new acquisition possible.
“We approached them about these vehicles, and they loved them as much as we did”, said Lieutenant Josh Sanders.
Trikkes are fast, nimble and virtually silent three-wheeled electric scooters with a police package that includes lights and sirens.
They have a 60 volt battery, which equates to around 2,000 watts of power, and are environmentally friendly. A fully charged battery will last about eight hours or take the rider a distance of about 30 miles, depending on the power setting selected, officers said.
Wheeling Police officials first saw the units on display at a recent police conference, and were able to test the trikkes there.
“Immediately after trying them out we thought they were really cool, but then we started to think about the community engagement aspect and the tactical advantage of a device like this.” said Lieutenant Josh Sanders.
Now that events with crowds have finally returned to the city after last year’s COVID social distancing, the new units will be heavily used at outdoor concerts, festivals and other special events in and around Heritage Port. from the city.
“We already featured them at Waterfront Wednesdays and Movie Night in Warwood last week,” Sanders said. âThey’re coming out for July 4th and the Italian festival – all of those special events and wherever we can have a broader spectrum of mobile response. Usually we are on foot, but it will give us a faster response during festivals and these types of larger gatherings. “
Sanders said that mastering the trikkes takes a fair amount of practice. As of Tuesday, four officers were in training, bringing the current total to six trikke-trained officers in the department, and more officers are expected to undergo training in the future.
“It takes a lot of body control – not necessarily balance, but stability – just knowing how to shift your weight side to side and front to back”, Sanders said. âHowever, unlike a bicycle, it doesn’t require a lot of effort to operate.
Much like police bicycle units, trikkes are operated seasonally and should not be used during the winter months. Otherwise, units can go almost anywhere on different terrain – up hills and even down stairs. Top speed is around 37 miles per hour on police-style trikkes, which come with larger batteries and bulkier frames than the commercial versions of these units. Near-silent electric motors also allow officers to be more aware of their surroundings while on patrol.
“It’s just another tool in the tool belt” Sgt. said Rob Safreed. âThey are a lot of fun to ride and I think it will be a great tool to raise awareness in the community. You will be able to go out into the community more and people will see you more. Plus, they can really extend the reach of a typical foot patrol.
Sanders said Wheeling Police had already made a positive impact in the area in the past two weeks as officers practiced with them.
“Everyone wants to know what it is” he said. âSo community engagement is almost instantaneous just by having the ability to stop, have a conversation, and have a positive interaction. “