By KATE ELIZABETH QUERAM, Capital News Service
Sgt. Greg Harris and Sgt. Derwyn Parker of the Department of General Services patrol the State House complex using a solar-powered utility vehicle and a rechargeable Segway on January 11. Police Chief Michael Pristoop estimates the department's use of the green vehicles saves hundreds of dollars each week. (Capital News Service Photo by Kate Elizabeth Queram)
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 of Maryland by BP Solar, the cart and its Frederick-built solar panel is on patrol 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 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.