The familiar image of police officers in riot gear poised to disperse an unruly crowd does not usually include vehicles. But T3 Motion is ready to change that with its Non-Lethal Response Vehicle, or NLRV.
This electric three-wheeled vehicle is designed to provide the maneuverability of the standard T3 with added features for crowd control, including a shield, strobe lights, and onboard PepperBall launchers.
"From my experience, currently when officers use riot shields, physical contact with rioters can get pretty uncomfortable. Any tools you can use to distance yourself and also keep control has got to be a plus," says Noel Cherowbrier, T3 Motion's VP of global sales.
The company expects to sell the NLRV as just such a tool for use in the Middle East as well as for American law enforcement agencies. "It certainly created a lot of interest at IACP," Cherowbrier says. And considering the flashing, robust figure it cut on the show floor, it's no wonder.
An additional rack on the NLRV creates a wider, more imposing profile than the standard T3. But the reason for the design feature is room for a storage container on either side to hold PepperBall launchers. Each has the capacity to fire 700 rounds per minute. Because of their range, officers can deploy PepperBalls onto the ground in front of a crowd and create a mist that won't affect the officer but will deter crowd members. An adjustable shield attached to the vehicle provides additional protection should it be needed.
"Being on the T3, the officer has the ability to respond more quickly than on foot, and the PepperBall equipment allows him to cover and impact a larger area," says Cherowbrier. "With the NLRV you can keep the officers away from the crowd and keep them safe, but still give the officers the tools to keep the crowd under control."
Cherowbrier concedes that using PepperBall launchers for such situations is hardly new. The innovation comes in from where they're being deployed. "What we're trying to do is make the officer much more maneuverable, to get away more quickly if he has to, and also to get somewhere more quickly if he has to," he says. And although the NLRV is too wide to enter a standard doorway, it is still just as maneuverable as the original T3, able to turn around on its own footprint.
Features shared between the NLRV and its standard model cousin include spotlights, emergency lights and sirens, 10-cent-per-day operating cost, nine-inch elevated platform for better viewing over crowds, and hot swappable batteries that allow for 24-hour operation and can travel 25 or 40 miles per charge depending on size.
It's also important to note the NLRV's differences. And "it's not all about the PepperBalls," Cherowbrier says. Yes, T3's new vehicle allows officers to deploy less-lethal rounds from a safe distance, but also to emit strobing lights capable of disorienting even in daylight. Together with its height and added width, the NLRV has an imposing presence, which is more to the point, says Cherowbrier.
"It's more of a deterrent. You could have fewer officers there and it would still be pretty intimidating. The officers are standing taller, their view is significantly further than it would be if they were standing on foot, and with the shields on the NLRV it looks much more commanding."
Editor's Note: Watch a video of T3 Motion's NLRV in action.