News Article - January 31, 2007

PHL Cops Get Segways  
  PHILADELPHIA Police officers at Philadelphia International Airport have a new way to scoot around the terminals answering calls. Since January 5, officers have been using Segway Personal Transporters to travel around in the Airport terminal complex.

   The Segway's are two-wheel, scooter-type vehicles with a maximum speed of 12.5 m.p.h. and they have definite advantages over other options. "The Segway gives officers a birds-eye view of their surroundings and also makes them more noticeable in a crowd," said Airport Police Captain Frank Gramlich. "It makes them approachable and it also enables them to respond more quickly to emergency calls."

   The Airport has acquired four Segway's. They are used to patrol the interior and exterior of the terminal complex. About 100 officers have been trained to operate the Segway, a valuable tool in enabling police to respond expediently to the dozens of calls they receive every day. "To have this machine, to be able to do that for me is just a pleasure," said Officer Kevin Foster.

Officer Foster spent eight years patrolling the vast airport grounds on foot but now he gets to do the same job on wheels. "I love it, it is a great piece of equipment; it helps us to cover more ground in a shorter period of time," said Officer Foster.

   Officer Foster said there is however one disadvantage. "Probably in a foot pursuit, I would have to abandon it; that?s the only time I would have to abandon it." To some, however, the Segway's $5,000 price tag seems to be too much.

   "I'm sure that there's other things within Homeland Security that they can worry about for $5,000 other than a Segway," said passenger Matt Spangler. In acquiring the Segway, Philadelphia International Airport joins more than a dozen airports in the U.S. that are now using the personal transporters. The Segway PT is also classified as a special purpose vehicle on the approved equipment list of the Homeland Security Grant Act.

Source - CBS3