Cops on Trikkes

Two Patrol Officers Will Soon Ride Three-Wheeled, Electric-Powered Scooters

Thursday, February 14, 2013
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From Trikke's official website, a law enforcement officer rides one of their electric scooters
Click to enlarge photo

From Trikke’s official website, a law enforcement officer rides one of their electric scooters

Soon, Santa Barbara cops will be seen patrolling high-profile areas while riding three-wheeled, electric-powered scooters known as Trikkes and built in Buellton. The Santa Barbara Police Foundation authorized the expenditure of $8,000 to purchase two of these distinctive green energy vehicles.

Although the name of the vehicles is causing some heartburn — “We’re calling them ‘motorized interceptors,’” said Deputy Chief Frank Mannix, tongue only somewhat in cheek — the idea is to generate greater visual impact to the officers patrolling downtown, along the waterfront, and on Milpas Street, areas where the demand for beat officers is greatest. Bicycle cops, explained Sgt. Ed Olson, tend to get lost in the shuffle.

The Trikkes, quick and agile, ride several inches off the ground and are hard to miss. Olson said the Trikkes would be more helpful suppressing criminal behavior than in after-the-fact enforcement actions. Exactly how and when the Trikkes are deployed is still being worked out. Probably, he said, they’d be used by the various beat coordinators and only when circumstances indicated.

Olson said the department initially explored using Segways but went with Trikkes instead because they cost half the price, are considerably lighter, and can be folded up. In addition, he said, they’re safer to dismount. Oslson praised the Segway representatives with whom he worked, but acknowledged there’d been blowback by some officers. “There was the whole dork factor,” he said, “the mall cop thing.”


Independent Discussion Guidelines

This is truly embarrassing. I am speechless.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
February 14, 2013 at 3:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The Segway is a great aid to law enforcement use in an urban setting.

The local PD needs to get over themselves; the Segway cops I spoke to -- who also former bike cops -- had nothing but compliments regarding their Segways. And from my vantage, the streets, and cops, are significantly meaner in DC.

binky (anonymous profile)
February 14, 2013 at 3:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Agreed, bimbo...they look pretty dumb. I'd say the Dork Factor is pretty high on these things too, Sgt. Olson.

I guess we'll see how effective they are.

LegendaryYeti (anonymous profile)
February 14, 2013 at 3:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Can't expect anything but a bad disposition from anybody forced to ride one of these.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 14, 2013 at 3:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Bikes get lost in the shuffle?" When cop bikes were first introduced years ago in IV after the riots, they helped improve the student-cop relationship.

But bikes do work better in flat cities during an 8 hour shift.

I do think that while these trikes do have a Dork Factor, even when compared to Segways, they do match SBs eclectic factor.

passagerider (anonymous profile)
February 14, 2013 at 5:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

want to improve law enforcement? hire some cops actually from santa barbara,

redbunz (anonymous profile)
February 15, 2013 at 6:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Cops on "Rollerblades", just a joke but you never really know.
The Deputy from the Santa Barbara Sheriff's is the law enforcement officer on the 'Trike' in the picture and NOT a Santa Barbara Police Officer, just thought I'd put that out there.

dou4now (anonymous profile)
February 15, 2013 at 6:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

And they will be riding these toys on the sidewalk - where skateboards are prohibited? I've seen the non-motorized version of this vehicle - they sway back and forth a lot and take up a much wider path than a pedestrian. Sounds like they will cause more danger than they will "intercept."

Someone was overwhelmed by "shinny object syndrome" rather than common sense.

TrailHacker (anonymous profile)
February 15, 2013 at 8:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Kudos for the local company that makes them and their sales staff for getting them out there. $8k for two of them? Nice sale. Now for the Cops that will be riding them? Really? A bike not good enough for you? $4k a piece, I think that would get you 10 bikes to get lost in the shuffle and you can get a bike up to 30mph, jump curbs and probably go places you can't on this 3 wheel toy. Embarassing. I would have asked for a sample unit to try for a few months.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
February 15, 2013 at 11:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

bimboteskie is right. Bikes are a helluva lot cheaper, more versatile and at least help keep the owners in shape. Somebody got scammed.

SezMe (anonymous profile)
February 15, 2013 at 7:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Everyone loves toys for tots but toys for cops?

SBLifer (anonymous profile)
February 16, 2013 at 8:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

That is so lame. Not even a nerd would be caught in one of those things.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
February 16, 2013 at 9:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

If a part of "crime suppression" is maintaining a high profile, then I suppose these trikes could be effective.

I've seen the non-electric version of the Trikke down at the beach bikepath for 1 or 2 years now. It's a very innovative design. The articulated cambering of the frame makes this thing much more mobile than it looks. Looks like a good workout too.

The electric versions look to have lots of advantages over the heavier, less-portable, and more expensive Segway for lots of applications. 12-16 mph and 10-24 mile range, only ~40-45 lbs depending on the model.

I think mtn bikes are still more efficient for beat cops, but lower "visibility" factor.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
February 16, 2013 at 11:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Apparently we are vying to be the Weenie Capital of the United States.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
February 16, 2013 at 11:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow! When I read about these in Noozhawk yesterday I thought, what a great idea! Mobility, visibility, and speed, too. Plus, they would be quick to dismount. I'd love to have one of those to commute downtown (but don't have the free $4K.)

The only downside would be on crowded sidewalks, such as the weekend "beachway", once the bikeway, but that's a problem for/with bikes, as well. ...I am amazed at the negativity here.

at_large (anonymous profile)
February 19, 2013 at 7:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This is what we get when we have a police command staff with minimal police experience. Don't confuse years on the job with experience. One of the staff geniuses that came up with this idea might have 1 year of actual street experience multiplied 20 times and then Murphy's Law takes over. A lot of time on the job but not much in all around experience. Must have taken many hours of staff meetings to come up with this brilliant idea.

whatsinsb (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2013 at 10:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I watched them playing with their tricycles a week or so ago. These things take up the whole sidewalk, can't think of a better way to clear off downtown sidewalks. Cops riding these things on sidewalks to give teenagers tickets for riding skateboards is sure consistent with SBPD policy of giving felony forgers in uniform raises and promotions, and I'm sure any resident they run down will be as guilty as those whose names were forged in our cartoon court system. It's really embarassing living in a place that's run on an IQ of 80.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
March 9, 2013 at 9:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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