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Ga. Police Undecided on Scooters

July 31, 2002

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ATLANTA (AP) _ The Atlanta Police Department is undecided about buying new high-tech sidewalk scooters after a test run.

Six of the battery-powered, two-wheeled Segway Human Transporters, which can top out at 15 mph, were lent to the department to patrol downtown during the spring and summer. They will be returned to the company in August.

Chief Richard Pennington, who will decide whether to make a purchase, has not had a chance to evaluate the vehicles’ performance, police spokesman John Quigley said.

Atlanta is the first city to give the high-tech scooters a broad tryout, according to Segway officials. The scooter was introduced by inventor Dean Kamen in December 2001.

The Central Atlanta Progress Ambassador Force, a tourism agency, bought six scooters for $9,000 apiece. They allow the agency’s officers to cover more ground and increase their presence, said Richard Reinhard, president of the group.

The Atlanta Regional Commission bought two Segways in April. Its employees are testing them from a consumer point of view: by attending meetings, running errands, even taking them on trains.

During training earlier this year, one police officer twisted his ankle. In early May, a tourism officer hit a bump while on a Segway and took a spill.

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