BPD’s got a brand new ride
By RACHEL BRANT
Bremerton Patriot Staff writer
December 4, 2008 · Updated 11:16 PM
Westsound Bank donates Segway to city police department.
Vehicle and foot pursuits are a thing of the past for Bremerton Police officers.
Several officers may start running down bad guys using a two-wheeled, electric Segway.
Westsound Bank donated the Segway to the Bremerton Police Department (BPD) in October. The bank owned the Segway since early 2007 and previously used the device for company functions and events, but no longer needed it.
BPD Sgt. Wendy Davis said the police department was testing a Segway from a Seattle store during the Blackberry Festival Labor Day weekend and a Westsound Bank employee saw it and asked if the department needed a Segway.
“If it weren’t for a donation, I don’t think we’d have this tool,” said Capt. Tom Wolfe, BPD operations commander.
Davis said a police model Segway from the Seattle store costs about $5,500, which made it difficult for the city to purchase one for the police department.
“They’re pretty expensive,” she said. “We were hoping to buy one, but we would have had to get grant money to do that.”
Davis said she was surprised BPD received the Segway from Westsound Bank because she has not seen many of the two-wheeled vehicles in the area.
“Honestly, I had not seen anybody on this side (of the water) using one,” she said.
Davis said the Segway from Westsound Bank has yet to be used, but it will be utilized at various festivals.
“It’s good in crowds at events like Blackberry Festival and Armed Forces, that’s what we’re planning on using it for,” Davis said.
Wolfe said BPD was looking for a newer model, but the donated Segway will work well in large crowds.
“It gets the officer up above the crowd and they could turn on a dime,” he said.
Wolfe envisions using the Segway in pedestrian-heavy areas such as Bremerton Harborside and on the boardwalk, should it be completed.
He said people are more willing to approach police officers on bicycles and Segways as opposed to vehicles, which is another plus of using a Segway.
“The officers are just so much more accessible,” Wolfe said.
While BPD was testing the Segway from the Seattle store, Wolfe said the department had a few successes. In one instance, a Bremerton officer heard a call about a man running from a house in Manette and he drove the Segway across the Manette Bridge and found him. Wolfe said another officer on the Segway found people in a park using drugs.
Wolfe said the bicycle police officers will be the primary officers using the Segway because they are already equipped with the proper safety gear to operate it.
“If we had helmets issued to everybody we could put just about anyone on a Segway,” Wolfe said.
Westsound Bank President and CEO Terry Peterson said he is happy to help the police department.
“Westsound is mindful of our responsibility to the communities we serve,” Peterson said. “We were glad to find that our donation would be of assistance to Bremerton’s law enforcement efforts.”
Wolfe said he “really appreciates what (Westsound Bank) did” for the police department and the Segway will be put to good use.
“It’s really nice when people are able to step up and do things like that,” he said. “It’s always been nice in Bremerton because you always feel very supported by the citizens.”