Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Public safety

RNC security includes souped-up police vehicles, bikes with sirens

Picture a police vehicle and you likely envision a Ford Crown Victoria. Painted logo, mounted lights. But in the crowds outside the Republican National Convention, those bulky vehicles make little sense. For nimble maneuvers downtown, Tampa police will employ four unusual vehicles, paid for with some of the $50 million grant from the U.S. Justice Department. Here's a look at what you will see this August.

Segways

How many? Seven

Total cost: $44,379

Segways are a given at large events. Tampa authorities have used them at Gasparilla parades and at the Super Bowl in 2009. At the NATO summit in Chicago, officers used them to try to stay ahead of the marching protesters.

T3 Motions

How many? Five

Total cost: $44,940

These glossy, white electric vehicles are similar but more stable than two-wheeled Segways. Still, its chariot style offers mobility. The T3 Motions can make a 360-degree turn in place.

Bobcat 4x4 utility vehicles

How many? 13

Total cost: $150,730

This gas-powered vehicle looks like a heavy-duty golf cart. It can carry several officers, and Tampa police are adding cages on the back to transport police dogs and equipment.

Bicycles

How many? 200

Total cost: $319,400

The Kona bikes have been built especially for police use, with sturdy frames, ergonomic handlebars, lights, sirens, special shocks, a battery pack, larger tires and a pack on the back to hold paperwork and a first-aid kit.

SWAT truck

Police have also bought one Lenco BearCat, a 16,000-pound armored SWAT truck used by military and police during tactical operations. Though more lightweight than other armored vehicles, they can take gunfire and protect officers. The BearCat is not used for patrol or crowd control, Tampa police say. Total cost: $272,904.

By Jessica Vander Velde, Times staff writer. Photos by Skip O'Rourke and Kathleen Flynn, Times staff photographers, and by Segway and Lenco

     
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