DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — You’ve seen them before, but not like this. The Segway is helping fight crime in a way police in Delray Beach never imagined initially.
In downtown Delray, they’re hard to miss.
“We want people to see us down here,” said Sgt. Daniela Quinn.
It’s a conversation piece as much as it is a crime deterrent.
“People look at us and want to ask us questions about the Segway, like about the lights and everything else,” she said.
In back alleyways, you can’t see them at night. And that’s on purpose. Because of their battery powered motors, they barely whisper.
At first, pride got in the way of the Segway’s stealth mode.
“In the beginning, some of the nighttime guys I work with they were making fun of it, they started going ‘Oh Paul Blart, you’re riding a Segway,’ but they kind of took the idea and ran with it,” said Sgt. Gary Ferreri.
Lt. Vinny Gray said, “It’s a different way of policing but an effective way of policing,”
Opened aired and three-wheeled, their top speed is 15 miles per hour. They’re perfect for the nighttime problem oriented policing unit.
They look for crime as much as they listen and smell for it as it happens.
“Sometimes riding these things, you can hear things going on, hear glass breaking people talking, the odors of narcotics you can smell,” Lt. Gray said.
A Segway patrol, with the help of the K9 Ghost, police tracked down a gun a suspect threw into the bushes.
“They later located the gun in the bushes. They watched that from a distance, they were able to see and hear everything all because they were on a Segway,” Sgt. Ferreri said.
So, the next time you think no one is watching, there might be a Segway waiting in the shadows.