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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What Is Wrong With This Man’s Legs?

posted by on March 18 at 14:45 PM

Seen outside the Stranger office this afternoon:


Today, the Seattle Police Department announced that it had the largest fleet of Segways—AKA automated people movers, AKA “What you ride when you’re too lazy to walk down the street on the legs God gave you”—of any police department in the country.

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Did you know bikes are greener?

Obviously nobody at the SPD notices how the public likes the bike cops ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 18, 2008 2:45 PM

That's pretty easy to believe, because most police departments have no cops on Segways.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | March 18, 2008 2:56 PM

This wouldn't even be an issue if Speedwalker were still around to protect Seattle.

Then maybe the SPD wouldn't need Segways to catch criminals and evildoers.

Posted by Dave | March 18, 2008 3:00 PM

I would LOVE to see a cop try to chase someone down while driving one of those! HA!

What a freaking waste...

Posted by Sylvie | March 18, 2008 3:04 PM

I feel so much more safe and secure knowing that cops are patrolling the streets on Segways.

More donuts, please.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | March 18, 2008 3:08 PM

At the Seattle Center, there's a Segway cop with an eyepatch on.

It's pretty fucking boss.

Posted by Joanna | March 18, 2008 3:10 PM

Cop or Parking Enforcement? Either way... money well spent!

Posted by Jimmy Legs | March 18, 2008 3:10 PM

I personally would never buy a Segway. But, a beat cop on a Segway can cover a lot more ground then on foot. Can do it without requiring human power, like a bicycle (which might suit certain uses better than others), and can be more localized than road vehicles.

So, despite general hipster Segway hatred (because they were poorly marketed and sold as a "solution" to walking), what's the big deal?

No, Segways are not as green as bikes, but they are more so than motorcycles and cruisers. So why the hating? Because they're not cool enough? Somebody fill me in, because it seems like random sniping to me. Especially from someone so concerned about green issues as ECB.

Posted by MonkeyNose | March 18, 2008 3:16 PM

Heck, a skateboard is greener than a moped. Unless it's an electric moped, I guess.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 18, 2008 3:18 PM

@8 because the are expensive and my tax dollars paid for that laziness.

Posted by cmaceachen | March 18, 2008 3:20 PM

@10 They are less expensive then a motorcycle or a cruiser, although more expensive than a bicycle. They are also cheaper to maintain then any gas powered vehicle.

If the Segway allows an officer to cover a larger territory during a shift, have higher visibility, and still have a closer tie to the community that is being policed, isn't that a good use of your tax dollars?

In other words, what's the return on investment? You have an opinion on this, so maybe you've looked into it?

Posted by MonkeyNose | March 18, 2008 3:24 PM

we live in a military society. they've had us under their thumbs for a long, long time.

segways don't change any of it.

Posted by superyeadon | March 18, 2008 3:24 PM

I couldn't find anything in Google news about that announcement from SPD. Do you have a link please?

Posted by Paul In SF | March 18, 2008 3:25 PM

Two wheels good, four wheels bad.

Posted by nbc | March 18, 2008 3:29 PM

@11 - not if they get heart disease and die. Medical expenses rack up pretty fast.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 18, 2008 3:31 PM

Does it have a siren?

Posted by DOUG. | March 18, 2008 3:33 PM

Ditto, @13 -- what's the source on this? Chicago had 50, last I checked ...

Posted by Skippy | March 18, 2008 3:35 PM

This is totally the solution to the SPD's popularity problem.

Posted by Mike of Renton | March 18, 2008 3:39 PM

6: Seriously, a cop donut joke? You got any fresh material, like how the French love Jerry Lewis?

That said, I'd rather see the money go to getting more cops on the street than cops on segways.

Posted by Jason Josephes | March 18, 2008 3:41 PM

@15 -- I think you're confusing "transportation" and "human resources" of the SPD. This is exactly the problem I mention in my first post. Segways don't replace walking, that's bad marketing. But they have a place.

Or, should we defend every vehicle purchase for public use against how much exercise they steal from public officials?

Posted by MonkeyNose | March 18, 2008 3:44 PM

@11 Obviously comparing them to cars and motorcycles is BS. The comparison is with bikes. The basic "I2" version is $5500. I have no idea how much the "I2 Police" version is but I bet it's more. The battery is rated at 500 charges and costs $500 to replace. I think it's fair to say they are more expensive than bikes.

They are also much slower than bikes.

And while this is entirely personal opinion, I have more respect for a cop on a bike than on a segway. Cause, you know, they all look like fucking morons on those things.

Posted by cmaceachen | March 18, 2008 3:56 PM

A razor scooter could cover more ground than walking, too, and only costs about $29.

Segways are a solution looking for a problem. And, giving parking tickets does not require a multi-thousand dollar walking replacement. If you want to cover more ground more quickly, as mentioned, bikes, scooters, etc.

I've yet to see the use that would justify the expense, and I've been watching for that since the day these things were invented.

Posted by Timothy | March 18, 2008 3:59 PM

Those Rascals™ zip around at a pretty good clip too!

Posted by Paulus | March 18, 2008 3:59 PM

@21: But street hoods are *way* easier to catch when they're all double-over laughing uncontrollably 'cause the Segway- riding cop chasing them looks so goddamn stupid....

On the down side, swinging your nightstick around to beat the shit out of someone throws the whole Segway gyroscope thingy out of whack.

Posted by Chariots of Fire | March 18, 2008 4:12 PM

@21 I don't think comparing them to cars or motorcycles is any more BS than comparing them to bikes or even walking. All of which fall under the category of transportation.

Since all the above forms have drawbacks and benefits which overlap, I think the Segway is at least a fair tool to at least evaluate in the field.

Your numbers look good to me, and frankly an investment of $5-7k or so with an annual maintenance in the realm of $500 sounds pretty wickedly inexpensive, compared to other forms of transportation.

As for looks -- well, I think Crown Vics look more stupid then Segways, and I remember people thinking Bike cops were laughable when they came out. Guess that's in the eye of the beholder.

Posted by monkeyNose | March 18, 2008 4:13 PM
Posted by Non | March 18, 2008 4:16 PM

The problem with Segways is they're too slow to be safe in traffic, and too fast to be safe on the sidewalks.

Well, plus it's impossible to look cool while riding one.

Posted by Orv | March 18, 2008 4:17 PM

Also it's just another method of heightened superiority (being bigger) over your subject (civilians) which I'm sure cops love

Posted by Non | March 18, 2008 4:17 PM

If it's good enough for Gob Bluth, I guess it's good enough for SPD.

Posted by Jessica | March 18, 2008 4:21 PM

Other than this...

...No comment.

Posted by packratt | March 18, 2008 4:31 PM

I've seen postal carriers rolling around on them, but never a cop.

Why would you care if Segways looked cool, if they were cheap and efficient? Yeah, I know legs/walking is cheaper, but months and years on your feet can really put a lot of wear and tear on them and your legs. Ask anyone who has a job were they stand/walk a lot.

Posted by yucca flower | March 18, 2008 4:48 PM

Having thought about this, @22 wins.

Scooters that fold are very green.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 18, 2008 5:22 PM

I talked to a parking cop back in January, and he told me they were training on Segways and we would start seeing more people on them. I asked him if he was going to ride one (he had a 3 wheeled cushman) and he told me they weren't for him, but others were pretty excited about it. Apparently the people getting priority on them have leg or back injuries (gotta love that ADA), or just like them better than the other options (walking, bikes, cushmans), but they have less range than the other vehicles because of charging, and of course, they're goofy looking. They've been piloting the project for a few years now ( i remember seeing one by the waterfront with big packs for emptying coin meters ) but they've apparently decided to roll a bunch more out.

Posted by 8blockwalk | March 18, 2008 5:37 PM

What a god awful fucking waste of money. How about using the 3.5 grand that each of those cost and using it to train the cops to arrest someone with out beating the shit out of the suspect?

Posted by don't break the oath | March 18, 2008 6:11 PM

If it helps them catch that awful Mr. Bananagrabber, then more power to them.

Posted by Eric Grandy | March 18, 2008 7:16 PM

Well, at least it's better than letting crippled people ride the bus during rush hour, or really anytime when Erica is trying to get somewhere. After all, it wasn't her fault that she got all those parking tickets on her car - she's a journalist!

Posted by Erica Bonehead | March 18, 2008 7:21 PM

@26 maybe she's got a broken...ankle...or something.
no, that's still ridiculous.

Posted by ali | March 18, 2008 8:14 PM

@37 - you know, at last count, I now know FOUR people who have broken feet or ankles ...

What Is Happening Out There?

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 18, 2008 11:56 PM

They can afford Segways, but not cops? The fucking morons running this city should get their priorities straight.

Posted by UnCommon Sense | March 19, 2008 8:02 AM

Those pimping manual scooters and skateboards, keep in mind that they only work one way: downhill.

Posted by Gomez | March 19, 2008 8:34 AM

SPD is using these for parking enforcement. Seems like a good idea and an efficient way to cover more ground. I mean, why does the Stranger deliver their print version using vehicles instead of the legs god gave ECB - because it's more efficient for fuck's sake.

And Uncomon Sense - the City has been funding more cops every year; recruitment is the problem, not funding. Try reading news instead of the Slog sometimes.

Posted by elrider | March 19, 2008 8:40 AM

you are all fucking dumb. these are being used by meter maids. would you rather they drive electric segways or gas powered three-wheeled carts all day?

righteous indignation would be one thing. but totally ignorant--and contradictory to boot!--righteous indignation is pretty disgusting.

Posted by some dude | March 19, 2008 8:42 AM

Images and video from Dan Savages' glorious war on Iraq.

This comment to be deleted soon as off-topic.

Posted by DW | March 19, 2008 9:40 AM

Yes, we do have them in Chicago. And yes, they are working out well. But then, it's flat here. This is Segway Heaven.

Posted by Cheryl | March 19, 2008 12:41 PM

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