Police in the US have begun using a high-tech lasso similar to that seen in Hollywood movies to stop suspects without harming them.
The authorities in the US have been under increasing scrutiny after police officers have unlawfully killed suspects. There is now a tool specifically designed to restrain suspects without risking violence.
The BolaWrap is designed to wrap around people and stop them from moving. This technology is now being considered by 200 police departments across the United States after it has been used successfully in difficult situations.
You can see how the technology works in the video below:
The system uses tiny hooks that are part of a chord that shoots out of a handheld cartridge at 513 feet per second.
In the video above, the wrap is deployed quickly and safely to restrain an individual who is experiencing a violent seizure. As a result, the individual was restrained safely. The team behind the technology has explained that these situations were exactly why the tool was developed.
Wrap Technologies CEO Tom Smith, who joined the company in 2019, told VICE News:
We wanted to find a way for police to avoid using pain compliance and instead use something more like what we see in Hollywood from Batman or Spider-Man to stop perps and not hurt them. You don’t have to be a rope expert, like a cowboy is, to be able to stop somebody.
The value of such a tool has already been recognised by police officers. Chief Brian Swafford compared its use to the argument for a life jacket, noting that ‘if it can prevent you from hurting somebody one time, then yes, it’s worth it’.
In terms of training officers to use the tool, it can be picked up within two minutes according to Smith. However, the company spends hours training officers for different scenarios where they can use the BolaWrap safely. This is because the tool can still be dangerous if it is not used correctly.
Dr Tino Posillico, an associate professor of criminal justice at Farmingdale State College SUNY has supported the use of the product but also noted the risks:
Part of it can wrap around the shoulder and around the neck, or in the worst-case scenario, it can go around the neck completely. And that’s a big problem because now you’re talking about asphyxiation, which puts you back in a lethal situation.
Going forward, there will undoubtedly be more calls for the use of non-lethal weapons in police responses. The BolaWrap and its Batman-like technology appear to be a tool that can answer this call even if safety measures have to be implemented,