SCMPD Considering Segway Scooters

What is battery operated, has two wheels, and could soon be the newest gadget in the Savannah-Chatham police arsenal? If you guessed the Segway, you're right.

How soon Segways could be a common sight on the streets of Savannah depends on a few things. One, if the public responds well to this scooter-like technology. And two, if the police department gets the money to pay for them.

Savannah-Chatham police sergeant Torrance Garvin took the Segway out for a test-drive and liked it. "I'm able to move freely through traffic on the sidewalk," he said.

"It's on the wish list," said department spokesman Bucky Burnsed.

Burnsed says these $4,000 gadgets are a dream right now. Budget numbers will have to be worked out, and an okay from lawmakers will be needed.

He believes the upsides to the Segway are unavoidable, like helping officers on foot patrol respond quicker. "When an officer can ride four blocks, he's fresh when he gets there. And [he can] do what he needs to do."

Sgt. Garvin says police can also see over crowds of people, and even better, citizens can spot them.

High visibility is a good thing. "They now have the opportunity to say, 'Hey, there goes an officer passing by on something new in the city.'"

These Segways are also sensor operated, so no one can steal them. But they aren't as easy to use as they look. If the police department gets any, all officers will have to be trained on how to use them.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com