Tampa Airport Police Department uses new technology to patrol

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The Airport Police Department has added something new to its fleet of patrol vehicles: Chariots.

Similar to Segways, the two clean energy “electric stand-up vehicles,” also called chariots, are designed to assist police officers in patrolling large spaces like the parking garages with greater visibility and faster response time.

Airport Police Chief Paul Sireci says the chariots are a big hit, both with officers and the public.

“The officers like it. It’s fun to ride,” Chief Sireci said. “And like the police K-9s and bike squad, they attract public attention. People see them and ask questions about them. It’s a great PR tool.”

The chariots are also an important part of the airport security program.

“They provide the benefits of a vehicle such as the ability to carry first aid gear," Chief Sireci said. “At the same time have the flexibility of use inside the terminal and more confined spaces.”

The chariots can reach speeds of up to 20 mph and are compact enough to fit in an elevator, allowing the officer to move from level to level within the terminal and garages.

“When I’m on this, I’m up high enough to see over cars and view a large area,” said Officer Oliver Jones, a 10-year veteran of the police force. “At the same time, citizens can see me. They know I am here, close by, and it makes them feel safer.”

There may be more enhancements to the vehicles in the future. Additional equipment such as an AED machine and the license plate recognition system may be added to the chariot’s list of features.

“We are always looking to evaluate and incorporate new technology to assist our officers, enhance their job duties and provide a higher level of service to our customers,” Chief Sireci said.


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