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Deputies scoot after criminals

Electric scooters will help paseo patrols

Posted: December 4, 2008 9:51 p.m.
Updated: December 5, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Deputy Jeremy Conn speeds past a cone on a high-speed slalom test track during the T-3 electric vehicle training held behind the SCV Sheriff's Station.

It takes a little body English to ride the T-3 mobility device.

"You need to lean into the turns," said Deputy Jeremy Conn of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.

Deputies stand up to ride the T-3 three-wheeled electric scooters designed to facilitate patrolling the paseos and trails in the Santa Clarita Valley, Sgt. Darren Harris said.

"The thing that makes the paseos so attractive taking walks is the same thing that attracts criminals," he said.

SCV paseos tend to run behind businesses and homes and allow for easy access and seclusion for criminals, Harris said. The T-3's can reach speeds up to 25 miles per hour.

"There isn't a criminal who can outrun us on these," Harris said.

It takes 10 cents per day of electricity to run a T-3, which is equivalent to getting 500 miles per gallon in a car. Deputies can cover several miles of paseo patrols in a single shift, while carrying all the equipment necessary for patrol and enforcement operations, Harris said.

Deputies spent Thursday afternoon training on the T-3, putting the vehicles through their paces on five separate cone drills.

"It really is easy to ride. The biggest thing is getting used to the balance," deputy Bob Holden said.

It is similar to riding on snow skis, Conn said.

"You have to lean forward because the T-3 is front-wheel drive," he said.

The deputies can't wait to finish training and use the T-3 on the paseos, deputy John Bomben said.

"From a distance this is going to look like a bicycle. But this has better lighting and is safer for the deputy," he said.

It is also easier on one important part of the body. "This is better on your butt than the bike we used to ride in the paseos," deputy Brandon Painter said.

For older deputies like Bomben, "Getting off the bike is better on our legs."

T-3 patrols will begin once deupties are fully trained to operate the vehicles, Harris said.


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