My co-worker Jim likes to say that it's impossible to look tough on a Segway. In fact, he does a hilarious little impression of a Segway rider wherein he assumes impossibly proper posture, slightly leans right and left, and makes mousy little beeping noises to imitate a horn.
If Jim is right about the Segway's lack of menace, it's probably a good thing the NYPD's deploying the two-wheeled scooters to cops in city parks and on boardwalks rather than on the streets of the South Bronx.
About 25 members of the NYPD have been trained to use the Police Department's 10 new Segways, which will hit Coney Island, Central Park, Prospect Park, Orchard Beach, the Bronx Zoo and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park beginning this week, according to the NY Daily News.
"Their obvious advantages are visibility and mobility," the paper quotes Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly as saying. "We're assigning them to the parks and beaches because they're suitable for the pathways and boardwalks there."
The NYPD has used the self-balancing scooters before, launching a pilot program in 2003, according to the Daily News. The program was scrapped after a nationwide recall prompted by a power problem that caused some riders to take a spill.
But it's not just N.Y. officers who are scooting around on Segways. Police in other parts of the country, including Chicago, use the so-called personal transporters, as well.