Chicago cops have a well-deserved reputation for being the toughest guys in a tough town. But you've got to wonder how many heads they are going to have to crack to keep that reputation up, now that more and more officers are riding around the Windy City on Segway scooters.The CPD is spending about a half-million dollars to buy up 100 scooters and parts. That's on top of the 50 Segways already in use at O'Hare and Midway airports, and around the lakefront.Cops have become a key market for the scooter-maker, after the machines failed to catch on with the general public. Around the country, 125 law enforcement agencies now use Segways, the company claims.
In Los Angeles County... officers prize it because it allows them to stand a head taller than they would on foot, so they can see over crowds and cars and project a more prominent presence at events like the Rose Bowl parade.The scooters, which travel as fast as 12.5 mph, also allow an officer on patrol to cover a much greater distance than on foot, and go indoors, onto elevators and other places bigger vehicles can't. Blair said the added efficiency allows a force to cut down on the number of patrol officers on each shift and recoup the Segway's cost in as quickly as a month.Several bomb squads such as those in Ventura County, Calif., and Little Rock, Ark., use Segways to transport officers in bulky bombproof and hazardous-material suits that can weigh as much as 100 pounds. The Segway allows them to scoot in and out of a scene quickly, without having to waddle in on foot.Last year, Segway came out with its i80 police model, which features a longer battery life, giving the scooter the an energy efficiency equivalent of 450 miles per hour gallon -- with no emissions. The machine also boasts "Reflective Trim [that] helps establish your presence and enhance officer visibility" and a "Comfort Mat [that] alleviates fatigue that can occur when standing for long periods." Not that Chicago cops get tired. Ever.(Big ups: Gizmag)