People go to airport to catch planes going somewhere else. Okaloosa County sheriff's deputies are going to the airport to catch rides "around" the airport.
The new terminal at the Okaloosa Regional Airport means more room for passengers and employees. It also means more area to patrol for the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office.
Now deputies have a new tool to help keep them off their feet and on the case. Zipping around the parking lot like a pro on his new Segway, you'd think Sgt. William Thomas had been riding it for years. Try just two weeks.
“It felt weird at first when my leg stepped up on it. My leg got a little weak, but after about a couple of minutes you get used to it. You understand the balance of it.”
Lean forward and you go forward. Lean back and you go back. A simple button changes direction. It is sort of a cross between a scooter and a pogo stick. The Sheriff's Office has bought two of the machines to help patrol the airport.
The new terminal at Okaloosa Regional means deputies have more ground to cover. Lt. Mike Adair says the Segway helps.
“We left a 30,000 square foot air terminal that was built in 1972 and now we're moving into a 108,000 square foot terminal.”
9/11 security measures have deputies checking the parking lot, terminal, even the tarmac. They can now do it in almost half the time.
The battery powered Segway also gives deputies a chance to interact with the public who seem to love it.
Each Segway cost the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office around $3,300 instead of the normal price of about $5,000.