Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Gentlemen, start your...erm...gyroscopes...?

So, among my favorite topics of conversation (a small aside from the usual blatherings on monkeys, squirrels and the like) is Segways. (See October 20, 2006 blog entry for refresher)

It appears that the local police force will be trying out these suckers for the summer (on loan from a Segway distributor, apparently) to see how they aid in maintaining the peace and apprehending criminals during the Edmonton festival season.

While this may all seem fine and good in theory, in practice (as my favorite radio DJ, Garner Andrews correctly pointed out)....well...it may not be so fine and good.

Bike cops have been a regular sight on Whyte and other environs for over a decade now, though I must admit that their little shorty shorts and helmets still make me snicker whenever I see them. They don't command the respect of a constable on horseback (do we even have those here?) but they're great for pursuing vagrants through the idyllic river valley, I'm sure.

That said, bikes have many features that make them excellent police vehicles: speed, manoevreability, lightweight and easy to jump off of to apprehend a felon at a moment's notice. Segways, well....while they're speedy and manoevreable, and have come a long way since the prototype, aren't exactly lightning quick and sure as hell don't take kindly to being hefted about (if lifting them is even a possibility without serious back strain.) The battery-power, while eco-friendly, begs the question of whether you'll come across a cop puttering to a standstill in hot pursuit of a bandit or (laughably) smacking headfirst into the ground because their segway flops out on them and falls over (it's been known to happen.) They're not particularly adept at getting through crowds, I would imagine, seeing as how anyone in the crowd could easily tip you with a jovial shove from behind. And considering that they're planning on introducing the strange gizmos during the Capital Ex festivities, it'll be interesting to see how long it takes for a cop to be humiliated.

Not that being humiliated on a Segway is difficult. Just stepping onto the thing brings out images of super-nerddom or shitty European tourists (again, read old post), not to mention the guffaw-inducing pop-culture memories of one GOB Bluth (hehehe)...

Garner made a good point of how, exactly, a cop was to bring in an apprehended criminal on a Segway. Double up? Place 'em on the handlebars? I can just picture it now: trying to get a belligerent drunken redneck onto the wobble-sensitive Segway without having him topple the both of you over into the ring-toss tent. Beautiful!

Ahh, la. What's there to watch on TV when such entertainment potential will be gyrating down your very block, keeping the streets safe?