Local law enforcement officers try new remote restraint tool that ‘doesn’t rely on pain compliance’

CEDAR CITY — Local law enforcement officers witnessed a hands-on demonstration of a potentially useful remote restraint tool Thursday morning.

Local law enforcement officers participate in a demonstration of a remote restraint device called BolaWrap, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 10, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Don De Lucca, chief strategy officer for Wrap Technologies Inc., said the BolaWrap device “fills a gap in the tools we have because it doesn’t rely on pain compliance.”

“Everybody sees what we do, everything’s recorded. And what worked a year ago, five years ago, isn’t the answer anymore,” added De Lucca, a former police chief with more than three decades of law enforcement experience.

Approximately two dozen law enforcement officers, along with a few members of the media, attended the company’s hourlong demonstration at the Iron County Sheriff’s Office headquarters in Cedar City. 

De Lucca noted that the device can also be used in situations where a crime hasn’t necessarily been committed but a subject may still need to be safely restrained.

“When somebody calls to the house and says, ‘Hey, take care of my son. He’s got a mental health issue. He’s out of control.’ you know, our response has got to be measured,” De Lucca said. “So, here’s a device that you can use from 10 to 25 feet away to securely wrap somebody up.”

“I’m not saying this is a tool for everything,” he added. “This is another option, but this is probably the only option that you could really use early enough without a criminal predicate to secure somebody.”

The handheld device is deployed by holding it at waist level, as shown in the video above. The device also has a laser pointer that can be turned on to help show where to aim. Once fired, the device shoots out an 8-foot length of Kevlar cord with barbed hooks at either end at a speed of 640 feet per second. 

Instructor Jennifer Rhoads shows Enoch City Police Chief Jackson Ames and Cedar City Police Chief Darin Adams how to aim and fire BolaWrap device, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 10, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

The tether, which is rated to 220 pounds, is designed to wrap around the subject’s legs to prevent them from running away, or around their torso to keep them from using their arms freely.

“You can’t break out of it,” De Lucca said. “Once it wraps, you can’t break the cord.”

Since its introduction a couple of years ago, BolaWrap is now being used by 215 agencies in 45 U.S. states. De Lucca said the company’s largest client to date is the Los Angeles Police Department, which now has more than 1,100 officers equipped and trained to use the device.

Iron County Sheriff Ken Carpenter said his agency has been given two of the devices to use on a trial basis and the company will train two deputies on how to use them. 

In addition to several Iron County Sheriff’s deputies, and at least one officer from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Cedar City Police Chief Darin Adams and Enoch Police Chief Jackson Ames also took part, alternately standing in as the target or taking a turn as the one deploying the device. 

Instructor Jennifer Rhoads, also a police veteran, showed several of the attendees how to aim and fire the device and replace each spent cartridge with a new one.

The BolaWrap devices cost around $900 each, plus $30 for each cartridge used.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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