ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Bikers, walkers, park goers, and even our kids splashing around at Magic Water are staying safe this summer thanks in part to a pretty cool tool used by the Rockford Park District Police.
As kids run around Magic Waters, Rockford Park District police roll around the park on Segways.
“We’ve used them to locate missing children, we’ve used them to cover the grounds in a very short amount of time,” said Sgt. Mark West with the Rockford Park District police.
The Segways also come equipped with lights and sirens. Park District Police say officers made 42 arrests on the high tech scooters last year and 33 in 2012. Cops say our parks are safer too, the number of crimes reported last year was down 40% compared to the previous year.
“There’s been a couple of instances where people were drinking in the park when they’re not supposed to or engaging in other behaviors that they’re not supposed to and we’re talking to them before they even realize the police are around.”
Even though they don’t actually get to take rides on them, the Segways are a big hit with kids.
The Park District also uses the Segways downtown, patrolling the bike path, riverfront museums, and Beattie Park. The Segways cost $7,900 a piece and were paid for through grants.