By Russell Hixson
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Campus wrongdoers beware: you better be prepared to outrun a Segway.
Oklahoma State University Police have purchased five of the futuristic self-balancing personal transport units for patroling the university.
Police Lt. Leon Jones said the department had been flirting with the idea of purchasing Segways for years. After seeing some demonstrations, speaking with other schools and testing them out with officers during football games, OSU police decided to spend $32,000 on five Segways — two x2 models and three i2 models. The x2 models are equipped with large tires for going off-road.
The Segways are specially designed for law enforcement with police lights, storage and reflective materials.
“It’s a good mode of transportation in places where you can’t get a car,” Jones said. He explained in addition to bicycle units, Segway officers will begin patrolling the center core of campus where there is a high amount of human traffic.
Jones explained the device is simple to use. One must find his balance and then lean or turn in the direction he wants to go. Officers are being trained on the Segways using obstacle courses.
The Segways can travel 12 mph on most surfaces and go inside buildings, Jones said. The height of being on a Segway will also give officers an advantage while navigating crowds.
One of the main advantages over bicycle officers is Segway riders can respond rapidly without exerting their energy getting there.
“You won’t be gassed out trying to get to a situation,” Jones said.
Officers also hope the machines will have other benefits. Officer Adam Queen said the curiosity generated by the Segways is encouraging interaction between students and police.
“People are wanting to stop and talk to us,” Queen said.
This is good because gets students comfortable with officers and they are then more likely to contact police to prevent crime, Queen said.
“They can get to know us and see that we are real people,” Queen said.