DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (WMBB) — DeFuniak Springs police officers will soon begin carrying a less harmful, but effective tool.
It’s called the BolaWrap, an alternative to a taser.
DeFuniak Springs police officials became aware of the BolaWrap last year and decided to incorporate the device into their procedures.
The department has four BolaWrap, one for each shift.
It’s a less severe method of restraint, rather than the sometimes unnecessary force of a taser.
“This device is a physical restraint so there’s a lot less danger of them being injured with the use of this device,” Lt. Philip Austin with the DeFuniak Springs Police Department said. “If you can handcuff you can use this device versus a taser which incapacitates the muscles and can cause someone to fall and injure themselves. This you don’t have that effect as much.”
When the BolaWrap is deployed, it wraps around the target’s body, leaving them restrained.
The seven-and-a-half-foot kevlar cable is virtually unbreakable and includes small metal hooks that latch onto the target’s clothing.
“Some of the constraints with using it that are very similar with a taser is you obviously don’t want to deploy this on a small child, or someone that is in an elevated position or someone near water in case they fall off something elevated or into the water,” Austin said.
The BolaWrap will primarily be used in instances where people may be a threat to themselves or when officers determine the use of a taser to be less appropriate.
“We’ve seen an increase in critical incident type incidents, mental health issues and when we deal with those situations there are times when we need to detain someone that may be a danger to themselves they may be in a roadway or a parking lot or something like that,” Austin said. “We don’t want to deploy the taser but that was mainly our one option that we could use to try to restrain or detain that person. This gives us another option without having to actually deploy a taser.”
Officers began training with the BolaWrap early this year and should be deployed in the field shortly.