The Department of Public Safety recently unleashed a new and mysterious crime-fighting vehicle into campus, where it zips along crowded streets at speeds of up to 18 mph.
This vehicle is a T3 Motion Scooter, similar to the Segway Personal Transporter, but it has three wheels instead of two.
Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety Mark Porter said he chose to purchase the T3 after test-driving one this past May. He said it seemed easier and safer to maneuver than similar products, such as Segway scooters.
The scooter was a good investment because it is completely battery-operated and, as a result, incurs very low energy costs, Porter said.
"For the past two years our goal has been reviewing ways to reduce the department's high fuel and vehicle repair cost," Porter wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.
DPS has begun to use new and environmentally friendly modes of transportation, instead of Ford Crown Victoria police cars, which average eight to ten miles per gallon, Porter said.
In addition to the scooter, DPS has begun to use Ford Escape Hybrids and Chevy Impalas, which are both more efficient than the department's older vehicles.
According to the Web site of T3 Motion, the company that manufactured the scooter, the vehicle takes three to four hours to fully charge, and operates for less than 10 cents per day.
For the time being, DPS owns only one T3, but Porter said when the department makes future purchases, it will try to obtain the most efficient vehicles possible.
"In addition to (reducing) the high fuel and repair cost, we also wanted to improve our response times in congested and difficult accessible areas," Porter wrote.
Some students said the scooter seems helpful for DPS officers. "It makes sense, but it's really funny looking," said Laurie Schleimer '12.
Still, other students questioned the necessity of the T3.
"(DPS officers) can travel more distance on the scooter, which I guess is a good thing, but it's such a small campus, it's kind of unnecessary," said Michelle Morales '11.