Segways to be used to monitor large crowds

Marc bence/for metro edmonton


Acting Inspector Rein Tonowski rides a Segway around police headquarters yesterday.

Police have rolled out a pair of Segway scooters that will be used by officers in monitoring large crowds and in patrols through the busy corridors of West Edmonton Mall.

The one-month pilot project will determine where the machines can possibly be used by the police force, including a trial at special events like Capital EX and the Edmonton Grand Prix.

After taking a three-hour training course — including some off-roading through the river valley — Acting Inspector Rein Tonowski said the machines handle well and can turn on a dime.

“It’s not going to be the best piece of equipment we ever own, but I think it has a lot of useful applications,” he said. “It’s great being able to get around and you’re able to move in and out of crowds really easily.”

A kill switch allows the officer to leave the scooter unattended, locking the wheels, while police have received a special permit to allow them to drive on city streets.

Sgt. Glen Hayden said the machines seem to have the best practical applications for foot patrol since officers can cover more ground, but he doubts they could help him in the city’s traffic division.

“I’d like to lie and say that it is, but I can’t see them being practical in my area,” he said, spinning around on one the scooters in front of the downtown police station. “I can definitely see them being used for special events.”

Segway scooters are currently used by police forces in Vancouver, Toronto and Windsor, as well as in several U.S. police forces and security companies.

The machines cost roughly $7,000 and can travel up to 38 kilometres on a single battery charge.


  • The new police scooters position users roughly eight inches higher than the rest of the crowd, allowing for better sight lines, and are equipped with emergency lights and a siren.