The following is from “Roma Tekovi,“ who claims to be the wife of a Metro Transit Police Department officer.
She writes about the news that MTPD is testing out 2 T3 vehicles and will possibly buy more. She says she is “concerned for” her husband’s “health, welfare, and safety, and wonders if he's getting MickeyMouse training and will pay a price for it because proper common sense precautions aren't followed.”
In her words:
What galls me is that I know every Metro cop has to pass physical fitness requirements when they join the force, and they're thinking about getting these. Granted, they won’t be able to run as fast as the T3, but when riding a T3, officers have no way to quickly find cover if they're fired upon, and they are not in a position to draw their weapons to protect themselves or others.
Capt. John Brandt, a captain with the University of Maryland Department of Public Safety, reviewed his Segway fleet (Segways only go half as fast as a T3 is reported to go) in 2007. He contradicted the premise made by Metro Police Deputy Chief Jeff Delinski said about the T3s in the Washington Post article, namely that "the way these parking facilities are set up, it gives the advantage to the bad guy."
“We’ve been using our Segways for almost a year. I’ve reached an opinion that they aren’t easily adaptable to day-to-day ‘enforcement-oriented policing,’ … can’t be ridden up and down stairs … can’t easily be hauled up stairs, over walls or fences, or through mud or thick foliage. It’s great for foot chases as long as your suspect is slow and stays on reasonably level terrain. Your average fleeing felons are faster than you and they’re eventually going to jump over something; a curb, steps, a fence, etc. You don’t really have the mechanical advantage that a bike gives you and the speed of the machine is just too limiting. Of course, if you’re chasing a perp across an airport runway and have unlimited visibility, you’ll be able to keep him in sight and eventually run them into the ground without ever breaking a sweat.”
Can you imagine a foot chase ending at a dark corner of a garage because the suspect runs into a stairwell? Would a responsible office be expected to leave his $10,000 T3 at the foot of the stairs to engage in a chase? Or how and when does an officer draw his weapon or dive behind cover in the event of an immediate threat from a suspect?
The Metro Police can hardly maneuver through crowds on their feet. How could they manage to part the sea of people on a T3?
Additionally, what is it going to cost to maintain these two test machines? Multiply that by the number in a fleet the MTPD is hoping to buy.
Imagine this scenario: sensors in the T3s are not working, but Metro doesn’t have the money or time to replace them. So, they let the officers ride the faulty T3s and incur serious injuries to themselves and/or Metro patrons.
If running is such an issue, let's not only have our MTPD police graduate in shape, but keep them in shape through workout mentor programs and mandatory regular fitness tests, like the military does. There have to be enough fitness gurus in the department who would be willing to literally go the extra mile for their fellow officers, right? Let them step up in the interest of the safety of the Blue Fraternity.
The T3 is just another gimmick for Metro to be pretentious, when in actuality it wastes money and, ultimately, places the officer's lives in more danger and makes them less efficient at their jobs. Chief Taborn is taking a page out of John Catoe's book when he's risking the lives of his officers in this way. It’s time to get back to the basics: get your cops in shape, and keep them there.
Save the pseudo-Segways for mall security and people transport.