Vehicle Alternative Stands Out From the Crowd
Although traditional police cruisers, motorcycles and bicycles all have their places in campus law enforcement, more and more hospitals and universities are looking at other ways to transport their officers. The Carolinas HealthCare System and University of Maryland are just two institutions that have adopted a different approach that has increased the productivity of their police and security personnel.
Law enforcement departments are adopting patrol vehicles that look, feel and drive very differently. These untraditional modes of transportation are breaking the mold and changing the perspectives of hospital and university stakeholders everywhere.
A prime example of this trend is the Segway® Personal Transporter (PT), which worldwide is used by more than 400 police and security agencies to increase the productivity of their patrol officers and enhance their community policing operations. Dozens of campus police agencies are now following suit because healthcare and educational institutions present several unique security requirements that make alternative types of transportation, such as Segways, a good fit.
Hospital and university security guards and police officers often patrol open pedestrian environments that are closed to vehicle traffic. These agencies also escort students, visitors and employees across campus or to/from parking structures. Additionally, campus officers must respond quickly to emergencies both indoors and outdoors. Finally, healthcare and educational institutions often prefer to use environmentally sound alternatives to gas-powered vehicles and reduce the carbon footprint of campus security departments.
For these and other reasons, officials at the Carolinas HealthCare System of Charlotte, N.C., and the University of Maryland of College Park, Md., both determined that Segways were the right transportation solution for their security and public safety departments.
Hospital Conducted Extensive Onsite Testing
According to Bryan Warren, manager of investigations for Carolinas HealthCare System corporate security, it made sense for them to evaluate the Segways as an alternative to other patrol applications. “We liked its portability and the increased visibility it gave the officers. Its price was comparable to the three-wheel bikes, but the Segway PT’s advanced technology appealed to us.”
In September 2006, Warren arranged for an onsite demo of the Segways at what he considered to be his most challenging environment — the Carolinas Medical Center campus. “We brought a unit out to one of our new parking decks, which had a very steep incline between levels and some narrow passages on the decks,” says Warren. “We found that the officers on the PT moved quickly up the ramp inclines with no loss of speed and were also able to maneuver down the passages and into the elevator. It performed very well.”
Based on this experience, Warren then arranged for an in-depth one-week trial using a good cross-section of his patrol officers. “We had several of our officers come in on the day the Segway was delivered and go through the training course. We then had them use it on every shift and said to them, ‘We want you to use it in parking decks, lots and inside the facilities after-hours, and give us your feedback on how it compares to foot patrol, bike patrol and the three-wheel electric bikes that we had been using previously.’”