In an effort to move away from the use of force, Boulder County law enforcement agencies are looking for a lasso-type device that helps restrain a person safely.
The Louisville Police Department purchased 12 BolaWrap devices about a month ago. The tool looks like a remote control and when the lever is released it emits a loud gun-like sound and pulls an 8 foot Kevlar cord. The cord has a test force of 380 pounds.
“It’s a device that allows you to pull on someone with a rope that you pull over the top of the elbows or thighs and have it wrapped around them,” said Dave Hayes, chief of staff. Louisville police. “It’s the least use of force.”
Hayes said the department uses stun guns about a handful of times a year. Most of the time, their use is only threatened to achieve compliance. He hopes the BolaWraps will reduce the department’s need for stun guns even further.
“We’ve known them for a number of years and wanted to see if there was something different and if there was less risk of injury,” he said. “We think it’s safer and a better approach for people with mental health issues. “
Hayes said a BolaWrap costs around $ 1,000. His department plans to purchase more in the future.
Boulder County Sheriff’s Office officials attended a protest for the BolaWraps more than a month ago, Commander Brian Jones said. He said the ministry was not planning to implement them anytime soon, but would continue to review the device.
“We don’t think it would be as effective in the type of environment we are working in,” he said. “The problem with the BolaWrap is that the cord is about 8 feet long when deployed. The problem with using it in a prison environment is that you need to have some permission in a prison environment or other environment.
Jones said the BolaWrap might not hit the person it was intended for, but rather furniture or something else in the room. A stun gun is more effective for a confined space like a prison, he said.
Erie Police Chief Kim Stewart said his department had not yet needed to use a stun gun this year and had not said it used one last year.
“We’re going to stick with the Tasers,” she said. “We usually only use it to achieve compliance. He doesn’t actually use them.
Lafayette deputy chief Brian Rosipajla said his department was still implementing body-worn cameras and hadn’t looked at the BolaWraps enough to know how effective they were.
Longmont’s Public Safety Department does not use BolaWraps, said Robin Ericson, communications and marketing manager.
“We have explored the possibilities, but we will further assess their effectiveness before making a decision,” she said.
The Dutch police service has purchased at least two BolaWraps but has yet to begin training with the devices, Marshal Larry Johns said.
“Tasers are only about 50% effective,” he said. “They are not very friendly with people. The benefit of the BolaWrap is that it can wrap someone’s legs and officers can more easily detain them with less physical combat. If you pull on their arms, it will be easier for them to pull a knife. “
Johns said it was just another tool his officers had in their pockets. They won’t work every time, but it is something that can be effective and less harmful.
“I think there are a lot of cases where they’re used more appropriately, whether it’s mental health or criminal pending,” he said. “It offers a much easier way to secure someone. “