Officers from the Covington Police Department can now be seen zipping around the city, thanks to the purchase of two Segway i2 Personal Transporters. The new units, which were delivered to the department last week, made their debut at the 2008 Covington Christmas Parade.
"It was fantastic. It was the first time we’ve used them at an actual Covington event," said Capt. Ken Malcolm. "We covered 18 miles along the parade route. Where you would normally need a dozen people, we were able to do the same thing with two officers."
Malcom said the units are easy to maneuver, giving officers the ability get through the crowds quickly and cover more ground than they could on foot.
"You’re also higher up so you’re able to see greater distances, which also makes it easier to respond. And with the Segways, we don’t get tired and we’re able to stay on task," he said.
The Segways are a part of an effort by the City of Covington and the police department to find ways to help conserve city resources.
"We were asked by the mayor and the council to look for alternatives to fuel consumption while on patrol and this is an electric alternative to doing that," Malcolm said.
The department plans to use the vehicles during community events, for parking enforcement and city patrol, or during high traffic times at area shopping centers, such as during the holiday season.
"We won’t respond to accidents on the Segways. It’s just for those special situations where we need to concentrate on a certain area," Malcolm said.
The battery-powered electric units can reach speeds of 12.5 miles per hour and can travel up to 24 miles on a single charge. The Segways, which cost the department around $9,800, were purchased using seized drug money.
Currently, the department owns only two Segways, but Malcolm said he sees adding more units to the fleet in the future.
"We’re very early in this program and it wouldn’t surprise me if down the road, we buy additional Segways," said Malcolm. "At every special event, where there will be a number of people there, you’re going to see these from now on."