By Alex Weinschenker
The San Francisco Police Department has no plans to add Segways, the electric two-wheeled substitute to walking, to their arsenal of patrol vehicles.
“Because of the budget crisis, it is highly unlikely San Francisco [Police] will adopt Segways as a means of patrol without the help of a massive public donation,” Lynn Domioka, SFPD sergeant of public affairs said.
The price of a single Segway ranges from about $5,300 to $6,400, depending on the model.
Although San Francisco is currently unable to upgrade the typical foot patrolman, the San Jose Police Department has successfully been utilizing Segways to patrol the downtown area for roughly three years.
“The Segway has been effective in getting officers from place to place more rapidly in the downtown area,” said Sergeant Fred Mills, head of the SJPD Public Affairs Department. Segways have not been put to use outside of downtown San Jose.
Locally, City College has implemented the use of Segways to patrol the parking lots of the Ocean campus as a substitute for patrol cars. “[The Segways] provide more mobility, giving patrolmen the ability to cover a greater area as well as offering an efficient green alternative to getting officers out of the patrol vehicle,” said Rod Santos, interim chief of the City College Police Department.
Despite the implementation of the Segway in parking lots, some students feel the device could contribute to a far greater good if utilized as a substitute for the current patrol car.
“It would be a great idea to increase the officer patrol presence on campus, bringing the police out of the cars to protect students in dangerous areas, not just patrolling the parking lots,” said Alex Hafner, a psychology major, adding Segways could help officers patrol the areas surrounding City College, improving security after the recent string of sexual assaults.
Currently, Segways are used only by non-sworn campus control guards, civilians with no arrest power, for purposes of traffic control.