It's not exactly "Dirty Harry," but D.C. police officers will look mighty hip on their new Segways. The Washington Post
The two-wheeled motorized vehicles can go up to 12.5 mph, which beats an officer on foot patrol by about 8.5 mph. The department is starting with 25 Segways and if the program is a success, will add 10 soon.
"People will come up to you and say, 'It's kinda silly,' " said Sgt. Michael Wear. "But you know what they're doing? They're talking to the police on a human level. That's what we
Along with increased visibility, officers on a Segway also conserve their energy.
"For a foot beat officer, it gets you where you need to be quicker," Officer Derrick Potts said as he threaded his Segway through orange cones at the training academy yesterday. "You also can go places cars can't go."
D.C. isn't the first city to try out the new Segways. In the Washington area, Alexandria, Va., and Rockville and Prince George's County in Maryland have acquired small fleets as well. About two weeks ago, New York City police bought their first Segways for patrols in parks.
Like cops on horses, Segways have the added advantage of being a good community relations tool.
"When you're in a car, it's amazing how much you don't interact," said Officer Mark McConnell, a mountain bike officer who is a trainer for the Segways. "When you're on a bike, you know everybody in your community."
What about theft? When off the bikes, officers just snap off an electronic chip to disable them. Each machine costs about $5,500.