Last year I heard about Police Departments across the country buying Segways and I wondered if there was a use for them in the realm of Law Enforcement. I saw news footage of people using Segways and they appeared slow and bulky. I also figured they must be dangerous after seeing so many videos of people crashing on them ( the videos were quite amusing)
A few months ago I learned that my agency was buying a fleet of the Segways and anyone interested in using them would be able to attend a training class. Recently I attended the training class and I must say that I am thoroughly impressed with the Segway.
The most impressive aspect of the Segway is it’s speed. They top out at around 12.5 miles per hour which is a pretty good rate of speed. They accelerate fast and an officer could easily catch up with a suspect fleeing on foot or on a bicycle.
Learning to operate the Segway took a little time but after a few hours I felt invincible as I jumped off curbs and raced along sidewalks and over grass. The Segway handled perfectly when jumping off concrete curbs at top speed which is a must if you plan on chasing suspects or responding quickly to calls for service.
I was equally as shocked to learn that the Segway can operate over grass, dirt, and gravel terrain. I assumed the Segway was a pavement only machine but I was wrong. The Segway slowed down while going through grass but it was able to take me up and down a grassy hill.
Another impressive feature is the Segway’s ability to manuever and turn. I was able to ride down busy sidewalks while easily manuevering around people, light poles, cars, and other obstacles. The most impressive feature is the ability to instantly stop the Segway while traveling at top speed. While racing along at 12.5 miles per hour I was able to instantly stop the Segway by leaning back and pulling on the handlebar. This feature is perfect for those situations where you need to stop and exit the Segway for an emergency situation or to avoid a collision.
I was concerned of the potential for the Segways to be stolen if officers left them unsecured while conducting investigations that required them to walk away from their Segways. I learned that our Segways come with an audible alarm that is activated if someone touches it after the officer turns on the alarm system. The Segways are also very heavy and it would be no easy task for someone to pick one up and run off with it.
While on the Segway you are able to better monitor your immediate surroundings because you are taller than everyone else nearby. Officers are highly visible to the public while on Segways which is an excellent crime deterrent.
The Segway will greatly benefit a Police Department in assignments where officers are dealing with large crowds or congested urban areas such as downtown areas and apartment complexes. It is also a great Community Policing tool in that it gets officers out of their cruisers and up close and personals with the community. Officers are able to easily approach and communicate with citizens while on the Segway.