Slow chase: The New York Police Department has just bought a fleet of ten Segways for its patrols. I have to admit that I’m skeptical: How, exactly, is this any different from walking? Even at top speed, a Segway is only a little faster than running. But apparently the NYPD thinks otherwise. Thanks to the Times for picking this up:
Ten of the two-wheeled Segways are to be deployed today as patrol vehicles on pathways and boardwalks in parks, at beaches and at stadiums, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said at a news conference yesterday.
Twenty-five officers have completed training as Segway drivers, he said, enabling them to maneuver the devices safely for up to eight continuous hours.
“Their obvious advantages are visibility and mobility,” Mr. Kelly said. He was referring to the battery-charged agility of a Segway, which can roll up to 12.5 miles per hour, and to the imposing stature the devices tend to give officers, who are eight inches off the ground and ride standing up.
The potential for preventing crime, and arresting lawbreakers, remains to be seen. Mr. Kelly said that the Segways would be driven only on marked pathways or boardwalks, and that officers would be under strict orders not to venture on city streets or sidewalks.