A Las Vegas company has created electric “police mobility vehicle” to help officers navigate crowds and busy city streets, all the while mixing up some energy-efficient green with those blue uniforms.
With three wheels, an aluminum unibody frame and lithium-ion batteries, Xtreme Green Products’ Sentinel is capable of silent pursuits up to 29 miles an hour, and it can even hop an eight inch curb if a perp takes the chase all the way to the sidewalk. If things get really dicey, an officer can jump off the trike and an automatic parking brake will stop the Sentinel in its tracks. Super quiet electric motors don’t quite have the presence of a Crown Vic with a brush bar, so a full light and siren package comes standard for those times an officer has to cut through traffic or block a roadway.
Xtreme says the Sentinel is “designed to replace the bicycle and foot patrol with a reliable, state-of-the-art, and efficient urban neighborhood and downtown patrol.” Whether or not it beats walking the beat, the Sentinel is the least ridiculous electric law enforcement scooter we’ve seen — a far cry from the Segway Kevin James rode in Paul Blart, Mall Cop.
Though no cost estimates have been announced, we can’t imagine that the Sentinel will be less expensive than a bike or new shoes for foot patrol. The Sentinel may, however, make a good substitute for expensive mounted units. While horses are ideal for helping officers during crowd control, mounted units are costly, and therefore facing elimination in departments from Arizona to Massachusetts.
“The mounted officers are better equipped than a patrol officer to monitor crowded patrol areas,” Tempe police spokesman Sgt. Scott Smith told the Arizona Republic. Tempe’s mounted unit diffused tensions after numerous sporting events, but may be sacrificed in a round of budget cuts. While the concept of replacing a horse with a machine seems oh-so 19th century, we think the Sentinel just may have the height and maneuvarability advantage of a horse, but without the manure and feedbags. Plus, Xtreme says the batteries are good for over 3,000 cycles, providing over 80 miles of travel per charge. Just try to find a farrier who will make that same promise.
A horse-for-batteries swap may be years away. Xtreme hasn’t offered an official launch date for the Sentinel, and they’re just beginning to take orders for their electric bike. Plus, big Homeland Security grants for law enforcement equipment are so 2007. Unless it’s shovel ready, we don’t know how an average department could afford to pay for a big, shiny electric toy — even if that toy appears to have droopy eyes and a moustache straight out of a Pixar movie.
One thing’s for sure: If any departments do decide to purchase a fleet of Sentinels, we can only hope the producers of COPS find a way to mount a camera on the handlebars.