Do not fret if you see a three-wheeled, 400-pound vehicle zoom past you around campus at the hair-raising speed of 15 mph — it’s just the newest addition to the Yale Security fleet.
The Yale Security Department is rolling out two new Segway SE-3 Patrollers for a new way to patrol the sprawling University grounds. The segways are all electric vehicles, and each costs roughly $12,000, according to Yale Director of Security Duane Lovello.
“It increases our mobility, gets the security officer higher up on the ground for more visibility, it gives them a more high profile platform than walking so people can see it,” Lovello told the News.
The scooters first made their debut during commencement last May, and after further evaluation by officers, have since become used on campus regularly. The vehicles especially frequent the areas of Science Park, the Yale School of Medicine and Old Campus.
Yale first began looking into the use of segways last year. Administrators field tested a segway on campus with positive results, which led to the acquisition of two that were placed into service four months ago. Lovello said that the Yale Security Department had used a similar product from another manufacturer in the past, but they did not operate well on steep hills and presented overall maintenance problems. So far, the new segways have not had any of those issues.
“It’s less intimidating than a police car. It makes the officers look less threatening, and on a college campus — that’s ideal,” said Linton Roberts ’23.
So far, there are around 30 officers certified to ride the patroller segways. Lovello explained that the training takes place over two days and includes classroom training and segway orientation, as well as a cone course and riding in the field. Officers are required to wear the same safety equipment as when riding a security mountain bike, he said.
“The number of bicycles deployed per shift varies depending on weather, staffing, activity levels and such but it’s safe to say it’s one of our primary ways of patrolling,” Lovello said.
Lovello said that since the scooters are a pedestrian transport vehicle, the officers cannot ride them on the street. He told the News that the vehicles have received “a couple of complaints,” especially because some people are “startled seeing them on the sidewalk.”
Talat Aman ’23 praised the new segways because they do not result in the same amount of carbon emissions as a police car would produce.
Additionally, Yale Security has also acquired two marked electric Chevron Bolt vehicles, which Lovello said “align with the University’s sustainability initiatives and have proven to be an effective vehicle.”
Lovello said that he’s also found the new scooters to be a “conversation piece.” Lovello said pedestrians sometimes bring up the scooters in conversation with the officers, describing the vehicles as “helping with public affairs.”
“They look dope. I wish I had one,” said student Pierce Daly ’23.
Other than segways, Yale Security also patrols on foot, on mountain bikes and in other security vehicles. Lovello said that the University is “fully invested” in public safety on campus, adding how the officers are receiving more training in topics such as de-escalation, as well as explicit and implicit biases.
There are roughly 130 officers in the Yale Security Department.
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