Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Currently Hanging | And Another Cover... »

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Future of Policing

posted by on July 15 at 14:05 PM

The Seattle Police Department—perhaps taking a cue from Wall-E—is preparing its officers for a world without walking.

SPD’s parking enforcement team is testing a new, three-wheeled Segway-like scooter, which could be deployed for patrol use.

It looks like this.


And this.


And this.


In March, the city purchased six Segways for parking enforcement, for $5,000 each. These new three-wheeled scooters, made by T3 Motion, have a max speed of 18mph—the Segway only goes about 12.5mph—and cost $11,500.

SPD Spokesman Mark Jamieson says the department is only testing the units, but they could end up in the hands of patrol units on Broadway or the bomb/arson squads, who often lug around heavy equipment in the field. “It’s a case where we have an opportunity to demo them and see what the pros and the cons are,” Jamieson says. “And if that is something we’ll want to explore later, we’ll tailor it to our needs.”

Jamieson says the department trials of the T3 units will end the second week of August. Soon after, SPD’s bike patrols are also expected to begin testing new equipment.


RSS icon Comments


HA! I knew it, I knew my eyes weren't playing tricks on me!

I saw one of those at 1st and Stewart last week - I was like, "Holy shit, I just saw a parking cop on some pimped-out Segway", but no one would believe me.

Posted by Hernandez | July 15, 2008 2:14 PM


I just watched one of those plod down 4th Ave... The poor officer riding it looked embarrassed, I felt bad for her.

I didn't think it was possible, but the SPD has just out-white-and-nerdied Weird Al Yankovic.

Posted by unwelcomed | July 15, 2008 2:15 PM

Meter maids couldn't look more wimpy than those 3 wheeled cars... no wait. They can.

Posted by Carollani | July 15, 2008 2:16 PM

uh, what's with the snark?

yes, segways look stupid but don't they run on batteries which makes them fuel efficient?

and face to face community on the street policing is always a good idea.

quit being assholes.

Posted by michael strangeways | July 15, 2008 2:18 PM

Anyone riding one of those needs to wear a white jumpsuit with a Robocop-like visor. And the vehicle itself should have a button that triggers a robotic voice to shout "Halt! Citizen! Halt! Citizen!"

Posted by JC | July 15, 2008 2:18 PM

Cool, this means caltrops and oil slick balloons will once more be useful in keeping cops off your tail ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 15, 2008 2:19 PM

Why these instead of bikes?

Posted by lorax | July 15, 2008 2:21 PM

The cops in Millennium Park here in Chicago ride Segways. It's the most ridiculous looking thing, ever.

Posted by Jeffrey in Chicago | July 15, 2008 2:22 PM

I live down in PDX and at the Lloyd Center Mall the mall security guards ride around on those things. Yesterday I saw two grossly obese mall guards cross the street while riding the Segways. I really wanted to make fun of them, but I felt too sorry for them.

Posted by Graham | July 15, 2008 2:24 PM
Posted by Jeffrey in Chicago | July 15, 2008 2:25 PM

Confirmed sighting at Seatac airport this weekend. We also snarked the fuck out of it @4.

Posted by kid icarus | July 15, 2008 2:26 PM

The trike pic made me laugh out loud -- nice one, Jonah!

Posted by Jane | July 15, 2008 2:33 PM

I dunno...paint the thing bright pink, outfit it with a sound system pumping C89.5, hang a couple of disco balls off it and it could be the next big thing in community policing for the Hill. Oh, and leather chaps. Definitely, chaps.

Posted by Partying Patrol | July 15, 2008 2:35 PM

Man, fuck, those new bikes mean even the *cops* will be riding fixies? That scene is so dead.

Posted by Juris | July 15, 2008 2:39 PM

@4 Face to face community policing is already possible here, it's called Cops On Bicycles and I see it all the time.

I could see the utility in using these for parking enforcement, but not much else.

And regardless of their functionality (or lack thereof), you have to admit they are pretty damn goofy looking, so lighten up.

Posted by Hernandez | July 15, 2008 2:47 PM

Thats not to far off witht the trike. When SPD SWAT capped the bank robber last week right by my office the Swat suburbans rolled up all tinted out/flashing lights/sinister cop look, the guys jumped out in their bullet proof vests, grabbed machine guns and ran up to blast the robber. 30 seconds later a guy in a tank top and jogging shorts rolls up ona hard tail Kona mt bike, leans it against the suburban, grabs a AR 15 and goes running up to join the fray.

Way to reduce the SWAT teams carbon footprint. Its bike to work day at the West Precint!

Posted by Randy beaver | July 15, 2008 2:52 PM

SPD's got nothing on these dudes.

Posted by cdc | July 15, 2008 2:58 PM

It may look silly, but assuming they've got to have a few powered vehicles around, then at least it's cheaper (and quieter and cleaner) than a Crown Vic:

Posted by Patrick McGrath | July 15, 2008 2:59 PM

Not only healthy for parking control officers to have to stand up all day,(think of the health care savings) they're quite likely to need more donut breaks and issue fewer citations as a result. I'm looking forward to checking out the really chic rain gear to go with it.

Posted by Karl Schuck | July 15, 2008 3:02 PM

While I'd rather see more bike cops, this is still better than patrol cars.

And since when is visual aesthetics an important decision when it comes to outfitting our police force? What a bunch of snobs.

Posted by gfish | July 15, 2008 3:03 PM

@13 for the win.

But we need a comparison of fuel and maintenance costs for all of these.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 15, 2008 3:13 PM

Parking enforcement officers ARE NOT COPS. You can have all the bike cops you want, and it will have no effect on these scooters. They are not replacing patrol cars, either; they're replacing the fleet of Cushmans.

Posted by Fnarf | July 15, 2008 3:27 PM

Au tres gay!

Posted by Gaylord | July 15, 2008 3:57 PM

What are they gonna use to keep off rain December-February?

Posted by NaFun | July 15, 2008 4:00 PM

Do they HAVE to wear the bike helmet?!? Sheesh!!

Posted by erike | July 15, 2008 4:36 PM

@24: I'm sure someone will invest a Segway umbrella.

Posted by Dave Coffman | July 15, 2008 4:50 PM

Sure they're cops - they get pulled of parking enforcement to do other things all the time. It's not anyone's favorite position in SPD I'm sure, but huh?

Bomb squad carries a ton of gear - I was talking with those guys at the East Precinct picnic on Saturday. I think for them these tri-wheeled scooter thingies make some sense.

Posted by John | July 15, 2008 5:32 PM

That one parking enforcement guy that rides around 11th goes WAY TOO FAST to be on the sidewalk - at least 12 or more MPH. And I notice he's about 5 times more efficient than he used to be because he can sneak up on people. He can circle the Pike/Pine/11th/ area about 5 times faster than on a bike or foot.

He shouldn't be allowed to ride on the sidewalk.

Posted by Diana | July 15, 2008 7:11 PM

@7, why these instead of bikes? $5,000 vs. $500, that's why. Lobbyists, money to be made, etc etc. For the same reason Homeland Security is flinging millions, many millions, at Predator drones and the like to patrol the southern border, when a guy in a Cessna can do the same job for a whole lot less.

OTOH, hey, much cheaper than Segway (that third wheel simplifies much) and much less gas consumption than a Crown Vic, but, uh,

yeah, Americans need to learn how to propel themselves.

Posted by CP | July 16, 2008 12:29 AM

Comments Closed

Comments are closed on this post.