Jackson police add scooters in tight budget year

Jackson police add scooters in tight budget year

Posted: Monday, June 30, 2008 8:42 pm
By: AP

JACKSON (AP) — The Jackson police department isn’t just trying to save gas money by adding more electric scooters, but it couldn’t hurt. The department will purchase four Segways, the self-balancing, two-wheeled vehicles that propel riders standing up, with a $50,000 state grant. Besides using less gas than cruisers, Police Chief Rick Staples said scooters are tall enough to give officers a good perspective around them, fast enough to catch suspects on foot and unusual enough to start a conversation. “I was really surprised how useful they are,” he said. The police and the sheriff’s office already share a couple of scooters for special patrols, such as the Miss Tennessee pageant in downtown this month. All the city’s departments have budgeted 30 percent more for fuel in the next fiscal year, said Karen Bell, the city’s finance director, and many are looking at ways to reduce costs. Still, the savings from the scooters is expected to be marginal. Mayor Jerry Gist said officers said they will likely only patrol using the scooters in the afternoon in downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. “We don’t want to ride them out to the mall,” he said. “But they can be transported.” The department is looking to save money where it can, Gist said. Some officers are cruising less and parking more during patrols, he said. Other city departments are also looking for more ways to save, but they don’t want to stop using city vehicles completely because it might reduce public services such as debris pickup. “It’s a double-edged sword,” Gist said. “You try to save fuel, but do you save at the expense of not being efficient in other ways?” Published in The Messenger 6.30.08

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