Ocean City police now using Segways to patrol

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Ann Richardson / Patrolman Thomas Runyon spends his shift Friday afternoon on one of the Ocean City Police Department's new Segways. Ann Richardson / Patrolman Thomas Runyon spends his shift Friday afternoon on one of the Ocean City Police Department's new Segways.

OCEAN CITY — Maneuvering along Asbury Avenue with ease on a new Segway Friday, Ocean City Patrolman Thomas Runyon was attracting quite a bit of attention.   

“People ask me a lot of different questions, they’re curious about the Segway,” Runyon said. “It definitely draws a lot of attention.”

This is one of two Segways recently acquired by the Ocean City Police Department to patrol the boardwalk, downtown and multi-use pathway along the Route 52 bridge.

The Segway permits Runyon to cover a lot more ground on his routine patrols.

As he moves through the downtown, Runyon becomes a roving ambassador, able to assist residents and visitors in a variety ways. People stop him to ask about the Segway, but also to inquire about local landmarks or ask directions.

Runyon said the Segway is the ultimate community policing tool.

With a maximum speed of 12 mph, police Capt. Steve Ang said the Segways provide officers with more mobility than being on foot and are far better for community policing than a patrol car.

“We sampled one about five or six years ago,” he said. “We didn’t purchase them at the time, but this year we had an opportunity, so we decided to try it. Especially with the multi-use path on the bridge, it seemed like a good idea.

“They are getting a lot of use, and we plan to use them as much as possible, and year-round, weather permitting. You do have to be careful on certain terrain, and certain weather conditions, but they are working out very well.”

Battery powered, the Segways will be used during daylight hours and charged at night.

“The nice thing is that the officers are interacting with the public,” Ang said. “We use bicycles a lot in community policing, but the Segways are not as hazardous as a bicycle. They can go in and out of the stores.”

Segways have worked successfully in police departments across the nation, Ang said. “We’re going to train as many officers as we can,” he said.

Lt. Eugene Sharpe, one of the training officers, called the Segways “phenomenal.”

“They are good public relations,” he said. “They get the officers around and about with everybody, gives them an opportunity to talk to people. It’s great how they are able to cover so much more ground with them. People know the officers are out there, it’s a good presence. He’s easily accessable and easily able to help people.”


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