Segways have put Red Deer City RCMP head and shoulders above the crowds, and at the same time made police more approachable at community events.
“During Westerner Days we responded to a lot of different calls in parking lots, at other ends of the grounds, and on the midway. We were able to get there really quick,” said RCMP Cpl. Mike Numan, community response unit, while patrolling CenterFest on a Segway on Saturday.
“You can see what’s going on before you get there because you’re up so much higher.”
Red Deer police started using the two-wheeled, electric scooters in mid-July.
City RCMP are leasing four Segways and has 18 officers trained to use them on sidewalks and trails until October, when the program will be evaluated.
The police department required special permission from the province to use Segways on sidewalks. The general public is not allowed to use them in public.
Segways are quiet scooters can go up to 20 km/h and travel about 39 km, or for three or four hours, when fully charged.
Police are also using Segways for regular downtown patrols, giving officers another tool to do their job like bikes in the summer.
Numan said people have a lot of questions for the officers aboard Segways.
“What are they? How do they work. Are they hard to ride. How can I get one? Can I try it?
On the Westerner Days midway, people couldn’t resist showing officers their amusement ride tickets and requesting to ride the Segways.
“That was the big joke,” Numan said with a smile.
And members of the public aren’t the only ones who want to hop on a Segway, he said.
“We’ve trained 18 people and I’ve had numerous requests from other officers wanting the training. I’d say it’s a big hit. I hope they’re here to stay.”
The cost of leasing the four Segways until October and training is $13,000, which is coming out of the city’s existing police budget.