Blackfalds RCMP has some new wheels to boast about and they are little bit different.
It’s not new patrol cars the detachment is getting but rather, a whole new way of patrolling altogether.
On Oct. 25, Blackfalds RCMP members got a taste of what it is like to ride a Segway, the nifty two-wheeled self-balancing upright personal scooter-like vehicles you may have seen before.
As yet another way to connect with the public, the Blackfalds RCMP has obtained a pair of these vehicles for use in their patrols.
Detachment Commander Ken Morrison said there are already a couple of detachments, including Red Deer and Sylvan Lake, that are using this new method of patrols.
Morrison said he is looking forward to seeing how his members buy into the program and added so far things are looking positive.
“So far it seems great,” said Morrison. “The members are keen and excited.”
Members spent the day familiarizing themselves with the proper operation of the Segways, which Morrison said can be a little difficult if someone has never used one before.
To get the proper training which is required by the RCMP, officers learned how to use the machines in the parking lot of the detachment building, then took the vehicles downtown to learn how to use them in a real-life setting.
Morrison added one of his members had the opportunity to work a few shifts on the Segways in Red Deer and found them to be an easy way to travel and do patrols with.
Morrison himself said that he is very excited about the possibilities these new tools will bring.
“The benefits are great as far as I can see,” said Morrison.
He added that the Segways also function as a conversation piece that will hopefully promote interaction between Blackfalds RCMP and the community.
“I’m a firm believer that we really need to get out there and meet the people, this is just another way.” He added he hopes the Segways may take away some of the barriers between police and people when patrols are done in cars.
Morrison said that there have recently been problems with mischief and vandalism along the pathways throughout Lacombe County. While it is unrealistic to expect officers to do foot patrols along the path system because of its size, the Segways provide a promising alternative.
Inside Blackfalds itself, the town has been experienced problems with unlocked vehicles being entered and in some cases belongings stolen from them. In response, the Blackfalds RCMP have begun doing foot patrols where they check vehicles and lock them if they are not secure, leaving a card for the owner of the vehicle explaining what has been done. Morrison said the Segways may be suitable for this purpose as well.