Belgrade police officers have found a myriad of uses for a fleet of Segway personal transporters they have been testing for the past week, but the department has no plans to buy any of the $7,400 machines, Chief of Police E.J. Clark said Monday.
Officer Bryce Peltomaa demonstrated one of the devices for the Belgrade City Council Monday, and he and Clark said the Segways have been extensively used by officers on patrol since the manufacturer loaned several of the machines to the department last week.
“It’s an amazing thing, and it’s amazing what you can do with them,” Clark told the council. “We’ve been all over town.”
“They’re great for residential patrol,” Peltomaa said.
Stealth is one factor, and officers patrolling neighborhoods in Belgrade made three arrests in the past week by sneaking up on suspects, Clark said.
Also, the response from the public has been good, he said.
“Every person waves,” he said. “You can talk to ten times the people you talk to in a car. People hesitate to stop to talk to you if you’re in a car.”
The devices could also be handy for crowd control at large public events because officers stand a foot taller on the Segways, he said.
Still, “the cost of the devices could be cost prohibitive,” Clark acknowledged. He has no plans to include such a request in next year’s budget.
“They do a good job, but they can’t replace patrol cars,” he said.
A Segway rep. will be in town Friday to collect the loaners, Clark said.