San Jose Officers to Patrol Downtown on Segways




In an effort to become more visible and approachable, San Jose police officers who patrol the downtown entertainment zone will soon be hitting the city sidewalks on two-wheeled motorized scooters.

The San Jose Police Department has received three Segway Personal Transporters, self-balancing devices that are battery-operated and relatively cheap to use from the non-profit San Jose Police Foundation. The Segways cost about $6,000 each and can travel at a maximum speed of 12 mph and, after a full battery charge, as far as 24 miles. The scooters could be on city sidewalks as early as this weekend, according to a police spokesman.

San Jose police officers have used Segways to patrol Mineta San Jose International Airport for the past three years. Initially, Davis thought his officers would not like them, but he's received mostly positive feedback from those who use Segways at the airport.

And the Segways have become an ice-breaker between officers and civilians, a result Davis hopes to duplicate near the downtown bars and nightclubs.

"We have found that at the airport, people seem to like coming up to officers and engage them in conversation," Police Chief Rob Davis said. "It seems to break down a barrier."

Officers who patrol the bars and nightclubs around San Pedro Square and South First Street, also called the SoFA district, will be hard to miss: the scooter's riding platform is eight inches off the ground. The battery-charged

scooters will allow officers to cover more ground and quickly maneuver throughout downtown San Jose.

"To be able to scoot along without having to rely on patrol cars just seems to make a lot of sense," Davis said. "We're going to try and it and see how it works."

San Jose Mercury News (CA) -- 11/04/08


Our Department has two of this crafts, our downtown officers use them.........