The Dallas Police Department's downtown patrol is about to get a whole lot more, well, motorized. That much we can safely say.
DPD announced yesterday that 7-Eleven was donating four new T3's to the department, bringing the total to eight. They were so excited about the whole thing that we got no less than three press releases about it, two from the police and one from Allyn Media, 7-Eleven's local PR company. The T3 is variously referred to as an "urban mobility tool" and an "electric standup vehicle" by the company that sells them, an Orange County outfit called T3 Motion Inc. Really, they look like the product of a wild night between Robocop, a Segway, R2-D2, and a bottle of tequila. Around noon today, various City Council members giddily hopped on and off the new T3s, which had been set up in the Flag Room at City Hall, pressing the button that activated the siren and admiring the 7-Eleven decal prominently placed on the front. A cadre of neon-shirted bike cops watched from the back row of folding chairs.
"We're so excited about this," said Mayor Mike Rawlings. "We love gifts, and especially cool toys. What this will do is help protect your 7-Eleven's downtown, and put more downtown and throughout southern Dallas." The bike patrol cops, he added, "kinda like these. They don't have to do the pedaling."
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"As we grow the city," the mayor continued, "We need private partnership in strategic areas that are important. Downtown's growth is important."
Police Chief David Brown agreed that he too enjoys cool toys, adding, "I think my tagline is 'Oh thank heaven. That's my stab at PR.'" He got a round of applause for that. Brown added that the T3s are "much more visible from blocks away," and make it easier for police to see over pedestrians and cars as well.
"They're not easy to ride," the chief warned. "You can fall down and really be embarrassed. I tried."
The T3, according to yet another press release we received at City Hall, has "a low center of gravity, offering wide visibility for the officer driving," can "access restricted spaces including elevators and narrow corridors," "handles curbs easily" and is "very quiet." Consider yourselves warned.