BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A former police chief in Miami Beach, Fla. is traveling around the United States promoting a different deescalation option for officers. It’s called the BolaWrap.
Experts say it fills a space in policing so officers don’t have to rely on tools that might hurt someone.
“Of course, we always want to deescalate. We don’t want to go to the last resort and use lethal force,” said Sgt. Leonard K. Harry, commander of the Firearms Training Unit. “If there’s any less lethal product out there, we’re going to take a look at it."
The Baton Rouge Police Department hosted a demonstration of the device Wednesday, Dec. 4.
Every call to police for help doesn’t require a life-changing reaction. Officers do have options. They can reach for their Taser, mace, or bean bag shotgun before things get too rough, but there’s always space to add another non-lethal tool. Experts say the BolaWrap is a safer option to get someone that’s in crisis under control.
“Instead of going to extreme force because that’s all we have, we can use something sooner,” said Donald De Lucca, chief strategy office for Wrap Technology. “It’s a win, win for everybody.”
If you’re on the receiving end of this restraint, first, you’ll hear a loud bang and then 8 feet of Kevlar tether will wrap around a potential suspect at 513 feet per second. De Lucca says it’s useful when used early on during a confrontation.
Sgt. Harry says this tool can be useful when officers come into contact with someone that’s mentally ill.
“Pain compliance isn’t going to necessarily work. What we’re trying to do is restrain them to get medical attention," he said.
"And the person law enforcement are trying to nab won’t be going anywhere with those hooks on the end. Cops will rely on the lag time to take the person down. It’s just going to bury the hooks deep into the clothes,” said a representative from Wrap Technology.
At $925 a pop, experts say they’re worth the investment. Right now, BRPD says it’s carefully looking into it as an option, but making no promises.
Leaders of the company say more than 100 departments are in different phases of using this device in the field. They also say law enforcement in Kenner, Lafayette Parish, and Jackson Parish are considering the BolaWrap for use.