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Flashing lights: Airport police officers roll with new technology
By DeAllous Smith

It’s not the “blue light special” that you’ll find at a national discount store, but travelers still are buzzing about the newest crime-fighting technology at Hartsfield-Jackson.

In January, the Department of Aviation’s Innovations unit — in partnership with the Atlanta Police Department’s Airport section — unveiled emergency bicycle lights with siren retrofit kits and T3 mobility vehicles to help law enforcement officers maintain security at the Airport.

Each of the 20 Atlanta Police Department bicycles was retrofitted with a headlight, a taillight, red/blue flashing lights and a siren. The kits allow Airport officers to scan the surroundings while maintaining high visibility to help deter crime.

The bicycles provide easy navigation on the terminal roadways and effective movement through high-traffic areas, especially during peak travel times.

“It’s the Airport’s goal to ensure the safety and security of every employee and passenger,” said Innovations Manager Doug Strachan. “These new devices give our police officers another tool to provide excellent customer service.”

Maj. Shawn L. Jones of the Atlanta Police Department’s Airport section believes the bicycles and new T3s are beneficial for officers who patrol the Airport’s 5.8 million square feet of indoor space. The T3s are the next generation of Segways (personal mobility vehicles) and allow officers to interact closely with the public and to respond rapidly to emergency service calls.

“These mobility vehicles rely on a three-wheel system, and it, too, comes equipped with flashing lights, sirens and the ability to travel at speeds up to 25 miles per hour,” Jones said.

T3s produce zero emissions and operate on two lithium batteries that can last for up to 24 hours. T3s are expected to reduce fuel and automotive maintenance costs because they can move back and forth along the curb area to monitor vehicle and pedestrian traffic, while police cars continuously must circle the terminal roadways.

Some passengers view T3s as mini patrol cars.

“You certainly don’t see them every day,” said traveler Margaret Henderson, who compared the design to a modern chariot. “I think it’s cool. Anything that allows a police officer to respond quicker is always good.”

T3s can carry up to 450 pounds — the equivalent of an extra person in an emergency. Hartsfield-Jackson has two T3s, and Airport officials have ordered another vehicle to patrol the new rental car center, which will open soon.



New T3 vehicles

The Airport’s two T3 vehicles enable police officers to respond to incidents quickly.

© 2009 Hartsfield-Jackson News. A Publication from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. All rights reserved.

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