Police use alternative transportation on campus

Police Aid Richard Bailey with the ASU Police Department rides around on his eco-friendly Segway to patrol the Tempe campus. (Photo by Robin Kiyutelluk)

ASU Police officers are diversifying their campus transportation methods.

In addition to patrol vehicles and golf carts, officers also use Segway scooters, mountain bikes and Piaggio scooters, Assistant Police Chief Jim Hardina said.

Unconventional transportation methods make officers more approachable and visible on campus, he said.

Accounting and finance junior HyeJun Park said these methods could increase security because police are more present on campus.

“There’s something about a Segway that makes an officer look friendlier,” Park said.

ASU Police Officer Brian Kiefling said it’s easier to quickly respond to a bike theft, the University’s most prominent crime, on a Segway than in a vehicle.

Mechanical engineering freshman Ryan Spiwak has noticed the Segways around campus and said he doesn’t believe they are as effective as patrol vehicles.

Spiwak said students are not as intimidated when approached by an officer on a Segway.

“A student might not take the cop as seriously on a Segway than with a (patrol) car,” Spiwak said. “(Police) officers on horses or bikes would more likely make a student obey.”

An average Segway HT travels up to 12.5 mph, more than four times faster than normal walking speed and 4.5 mph faster than the average running speed.

Kiefling said despite the Segway’s slow speed compared to a patrol vehicle, nothing outruns the radio.

The ASU Police Department uses both patrol vehicles and Segways on campus at all hours, Hardina said.

The police department initially introduced alternative transportation methods because there are more officers than patrol cars on each campus.

Kiefling said these alternate methods assist police officers in keeping the campus safe, without depending on patrol vehicles during peak hours.

“Driving a vehicle through the mall during class change is almost impossible, but a bike or Segway can navigate this arena easily,” he said.

Accounting freshman Wenyin Zhang said students should obey the law regardless of whether an officer approaches them on foot, bike or Segway.

“Segways should affect a student’s safety, not their behavior,” Zhang said

 

Reach the reporter at mkthomp5@asu.edu