It looks like something out of a comic book.
“At first, they called it the Batman tool,” said Don De Lucca, a BolaWrap public safety representative.
The BolaWrap shoots out Kevlar cord that wraps around a subject and restrains them from a distance of about 10 to 25 feet away. It’s compared to a remote set of handcuffs, and wraps around the subject's legs and arms.
“It seems simple, but I was in policing since 1981, and all I know is we went from verbal commands to hands-on wrestling on the ground,” De Lucca said. “Fortunately, the optics of what we do is important and how we handle things. This is seen as a humane restraint in order to secure somebody and get them the help they need.”
The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office purchased six BolaWrap devices. They will be distributed to law enforcement and corrections officers. Each device costs about $1,100, and officers received training in a day.
“We’re always looking at the most effective and safe way for us to do our job,” said Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol. “Being a police officer today is not easy, and we all know that.”
In the last year, police have been scrutinized for their use of force, and the sheriff says the device helps avoid using painful restraint techniques that can cause injury, especially in cases of individuals suffering a mental health crisis.
“This is an opportunity to have another tool in our tool box so that we are doing our best to keep our officers safe, doing our best to keep the people in the community that we deal with safe and it significantly decreases liability,” Maciol said.
Maciol hopes it will become increasingly popular and just as common as Tasers and body cams.
More than 500 agencies are using the BolaWrap nationwide.
Company representatives claim there have been no reports of injuries other than scratches from the hooks.