Bola Wrap Gives Police Officers Non-Lethal Option

WATCH: Several area departments saw a demonstration of the device Thursday.

Brett Blume
June 14, 2018 - 12:56 pm

(KMOX/Brett Blume)

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FERGUSON, Mo. (KMOX) -  Bang! In less than a blink of an eye, a thin wire erupts from the Bola Wrap device and wraps twice around a mannequin set up on the Ferguson Police Department's indoor firing range.

Mike Rothans represents the manufacturer, Wrap Technologies, and he says they came up with the idea about three years ago.

"This tool has really been developed for dealing with the mentally ill, and uncooperative individuals," he explained. "It is a non-lethal device. The majority of what law enforcement carries on their gun belts and in the trunk of their cars are pain compliance weapons."

And he says that's where the Bola Wrap differs from something like a Taser gun -- it's painless.

Even if it hits you in the face?

"Well I think if you got hit in the face it would probably hurts, for sure," he allowed. "But that's not what it is designed for. If it's used the way it's designed and officers are trained, there's no pain involved. And basically it's supposed to be utilized from the elbows down."

Retired police chief Don De Luca has been travelling around the country helping present the Bola Wrap device to police departments.

When should the device be utilized?

"Basically when you're trying to control somebody and not use pain compliance," De Luca said. "There's a lot of instances when officers show up on the scene and right away they know that, 'I've gotta do something, this person is going to take off running' or, 'This person just committed a crime, how do I restrain them?' It's better than trying to put handcuffs on somebody right away."

Ferguson Police Chief Delrish Moss got a chance to shoot the Bola Wrap at the mannequin and seemed impressed with the results.

"There's a long way to go toward pushing a button and making this happen," he admitted. "But this is our way of trying to find creative ways to do more effective policing without hurting people."

He said the constraints of the Justice Department consent decree put in place following Michael Brown's shooting death four summers ago mean he hasn't signed up to use the device, yet.

"We have had conversations with the company," Moss said. "One of the things that happens in Ferguson due to the uniqueness of our consent decree is before I give the go-ahead to actually use it, we've got to talk with the Department of Justice and actually develop a policy."

He said a final decision about whether to add the Bola Wrap to their arsenal of crime-fighting weapons could be about a month away.

Florissant, St. Charles and the North County Co-Op also had law enforcement representatives on hand for the Bola Wrap demonstration at Ferguson police headquarters.