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New Segways Help TCC Officers Respond Quicker, More Efficiently On Campus

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

Tulsa Community College's southeast campus sits on 95 acres, which includes 10 parking lots and 500,000-square feet of inside space.

To help patrol that large of an area, the campus has added a new tool to its police department, which allows officers to get around much quicker and more efficiently.

Tracey Powell is a Sergeant for the Glenpool Police Department who works part time at TCC.

He may look like a pro, zipping around on the segway now, but at first, he was leery of it.

"I was intimidated,” he said. “I thought, ‘how does that work? …The most terrifying part was getting on it."

He realized the benefit of patrolling the large campus both outside, where he can get around obstacles that might block a police car. He also can use it inside the buildings, on elevators, down hallways and in classrooms or smaller spaces, something a car certainly can't do.

He can go as slow as someone barely walking or faster than the average person can run.

"It feels faster when you're on it, but about 12 miles an hour," he said.

The officers respond to medical emergencies as well as police emergencies, and the segway lets them get there faster, plus they can carry a defibrillator with them.

"By the time you get there, you're not winded,” Powell said. “Because if you run a mile, even if you're in really good shape, you get to the end of that mile and you're not 100 percent. On this, you get there and get off, you're still 100 percent. Then, if you need to run a mile, you still can."

Powell said if he needs to stop, he just parks it like he would a bike.

"Just lean it up against something and you lock it," Powell said.

An alarm goes off if anyone tries to take off on it. It doesn't have a siren, but it does have police lights.

It's an up-close-and-personal way to do community policing.

"College campus is a small town,” he said. “People can come up and talk to you and then you have an opportunity to talk about other things."

What started out as an experiment at TCC has turned into quite a success. Not only is the segway cheaper than a car, but it saves on gas and is better for the environment.

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