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State House Police Go Green

By Kate Elizabeth Queram
Capital News Service
Friday, Jan. 11, 2008
; corrected Jan. 18, 2008

The first-edition version of this story incorrectly named the recipient of the cart as Gov. Martin O'Malley. The cart was given to the state of Maryland. In addition, the original version said there were two Segways patrolling in Annapolis. One is in Annapolis, the other in Baltimore.

ANNAPOLIS - State House police officers are going green this legislative term, patrolling their 75-acre jurisdiction in a new kind of SUV—a solar utility vehicle that is more golf cart than road hog and runs entirely on energy from the sun.

Donated to the state by BP Solar, the solar-powered vehicle is on patrol in Annapolis, along with a rechargeable Segway.

"In a car, a tank of gas will last two to three days, you're filling up two to three times a week, $40 each time - so we're probably saving hundreds of dollars each week,'' said Michael Pristoop, police chief for the Department of General Services. "Plus, there's no noise, no pollution."

The use of environmentally friendly police vehicles is growing, with scooters zipping through the streets of Manhattan and hybrids roaming Seattle.

Officers have received positive feedback from state legislators getting their first glimpse of the scooter-like Segway in action, said Sgt. Derwyn Parker.

"They ask for rides. We get that a lot. But it's not something we want to get in the habit of doing," Parker said.

Copyright 2008 University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism

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