PARK CITY (News4Utah) – A new non-lethal device on the market could be a game changer for law enforcement in dangerous situations.
Park City Police Department was the first law enforcement agency in the state to test out the BolaWrap Wednesday morning, a hand-held device that discharges an eight-foot bola style Kevlar tether to restrain an individual from 10 to 25 feet away.
The device, developed by Wrap Technologies based out of Los Angeles, deploys at a rate of 640 feet a second, giving it a similar sound as a gunshot.
“What’s good about it is it can be used early in an encounter, as opposed to escalating quickly or perhaps deadly force. It doesn’t cause pain in an individual so it doesn’t get out of control and force officers into using deadly force,” said Michael Rothans, Senior Vice President of Business Development for Wrap Technologies. “This is going to help law enforcement deal with individuals who are uncooperative, but particularly individuals who are suffering from a mental health crisis in a more humane and safe way.”
Rothans said it was developed three years ago, keeping those with mental health issues in mind. For the last nine months, the BolaWrap has been tested in several other cities such as Knoxville, TN, Madison, WI, and Orlando, FL.
“It’s very easy. It’s got a cocking device. It’s got a laser that you just push a button to take the safety off, and a firing mechanism, and that’s it,” said Rothans. “Cartridge loads in the front so it’s a one-use cartridge and then you can reload this and use it as many times as you want.”
Chief Wade Carpenter of the Park City Police Department said Wrap Technologies will leave several devices behind for the next six months for his agency to test out. Each device costs $800 and each cartridge costs $30. If they choose to purchase this device, Carpenter said they will approach city council for funding.
“This is a new alternative that gives us another option. We deal with a lot of first amendment issues and I could see this as an excellent tool to where if you had a crowded area or you have somebody that might be non-compliant or someone suffering from mental health issues,” said Chief Carpenter.