By Reid Kerr - email
TYLER, TX (KLTV) - East Texans got their first glimpse of the newest crime fighting tool Monday.
The Smith County Sheriff's Department unveiled their new Segway to the Commissioner's Court.
Sheriff J.B. Smith and Judge Joel Baker got the idea at a Sheriff's convention, and also the idea of how to get one for free.
"It costs the taxpayers absolutely zero," Sheriff Smith explained. "This was bought with drug forfeiture funds, so this was bought by the stupid drug dealers of America."
The forfeiture program left enough money, in fact, to buy the souped-up three-wheel version, much more stable than the mall-cop two-wheelers.
"For some reason, I'm not comfortable with two wheels," Sheriff Smith said. "I'm more comfortable with three. It's more rugged, we're going to be using it a lot more outside than inside."
Officers are being trained right now to patrol locations like juror parking lots, the East Texas State Fair, and football games using the new vehicle that looks like a playtoy.
"This is not a playtoy," Sheriff Smith explains. "It'll make us more efficient, and make the public safer."
The Segway looks like fun, but it's not a toy. At speeds of up to 25 miles an hour, it's a fully functional police vehicle that will more than double the speed of their patrols.
With extra batteries and safety equipment, the Segway cost around $15,000 from the department's drug forfeiture fund. Sheriff Smith his department should be fully trained within three weeks, and they plan to purchase another one.