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August 18, 2011
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More cops adopt Segway patrol

In ‘Patrolling Across America,’ officers take battery-powered scooters for a trial run

By PoliceOne Staff

Departments across the country are considering Segway scooters as the latest mode of transportation for officers.

LAPD officers put the devices to use at last week’s Art Walk, a street event with food trucks and vendors. They were brought on board for crowd control and supplemented forces on motorcycles, bicycles, and horses, The Los Angeles Times said.

Segway has been showing cops the battery-powered scooters as part of its "Patrolling Across America" campaign, in which agencies can see first-hand their potential uses for patrol.

Segway’s tour stopped in Billings, Montana, where officers enjoyed their trial run two weeks ago, according to The Billings Gazette. Billings Police Chief Rich St. John says that after testing the vehicles, officers usually report that they’re fun – but also a conversation starter.

“Our officers said they’ve weathered a few ‘Paul Blart’ comments,” St. John said, referring to the lead character in the movie “Mall Cop,” who rides a Segway.

Usually, the decision to purchase the Segways comes down to whether it’s practical for each department’s individual needs.

Belgrade, Montana, officers reported that civilians often greeted the officers with waves and conversation as they tested the two-wheelers. The department did not purchase Segways for patrol, but did notice their effect on community relations.

“They’re great for residential patrol,” Officer Bryce Peltomaa told the Belgrade News.

Segways are most effective for departments with community-based policing as their platform, a case study published on the Segway website reported. Cops on the streets can seem more approachable to civilians, and people may feel more comfortable interacting with law enforcement.

“It allows cops to get out of their cars, be in touch with people and create dialog,” Bridgeport Police Chief Norwood said in the report.



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