Police see it as a low-pain way to de-escalate a situation with a non-compliant suspect —
The Fayetteville Police Department is implementing a new, non-lethal tool called the “BolaWrap” to help de-escalate volatile situations. This device features a remotely-projected cable that flies through the air and wraps around a person’s body.
WRAP Industries representatives demonstrated the BolaWrap on Friday, May 21, at the Fayetteville Police Department headquarters, followed by an afternoon of training for four officers, who will serve as trainers when the BolaWrap device is rolled out across the department.
Police Chief Scott Gray said he likes the BolaWrap, because it does not inflict pain on the subject being detained, which is common with other devices. While the BolaWrap cable does have barbed hooks on the two ends, they are designed to grip clothing, and even if they do catch a person’s skin, they are easily removed with minimal damage.
“When we engage with these difficult situations, we try to come to a safe end,” said Chief Gray. “We set up this demonstration and training to make sure this will work and fit with us.”
Retired Miami Beach Police Chief Don De Lucca presented the BolaWrap device at the Friday demonstration, and he said he can think of many times in his career when the BolaWrap would have been helpful in bringing volatile situations to a peaceful conclusion. He noted that almost 500 police departments are using the device, and they are tracking at 86% successful outcomes.
Each device contains a cartridge that, when activated, uses a small amount of gun powder to project the cable forward. It is most effective at a range of 10-25 feet, which makes it ideal for situations where a subject may need to be restrained. Once a subject has been wrapped, officers would immediately take them into custody and remove the BolaWrap cable.
“It’s not meant for every situation, but there is a space for this,” De Lucca said. “It’s like a Batman tool.”
Chief Gray said officers will begin carrying the BolaWrap devices around mid-summer.