WPD unveils new, non-lethal tool to stop criminals

Updated: Oct. 23, 2019 at 12:50 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Wilmington police have a new, non-lethal tool to stop criminals in their tracks called the BolaWrap.

The handheld device discharges an 8′ Kevlar Cord which wraps around the subject’s body, anchors to their clothing and prevents them from advancing toward police or running away.

The BolaWrap offers a pain-free solution for officers who might otherwise be required to use force.

“This is another tool that can go in the toolbox,” said Assistant Chief Donny Williams. “There will be situations where the BolaWrap may be ideal, but it’s not going to fit all situations. It’s another option, and we’re really excited about this new technology.”

Its quick action allows for easy and painless restraint and, with individual cartridges, officers can reload within 10 seconds.

“It’s 2019, so the public expects law enforcement to have some type of less-lethal alternative. It’s as simple as that. So this, the way the chief and administration looks at it, is just another option for officers to have on the street. If the taser is not going to work in a situation, maybe they’ll use the BolaWrap,” said Lt. Kevin Johnson.

Johnson said the chief needs to approve a policy regarding the new device. After that, officers will be brought up to speed with classes, use of force policy, practical exercises and written tests.

“It’s like taking a set of handcuffs and throwing them on somebody to try to immobilize them or keep them from coming any closer to you or being any more combative,” Lt. Johnson said.

He said it is a good alternative to have in situations like responding to a mental health crisis.

“Maybe they have an edged weapon, took a fighting stance or anything like that. If you got any closer to them, you’d probably take a punch or get hit or something like that. So somebody just keeps walking a little bit closer a little bit closer. You tell them no, stand there, stand away from me, that would be an ideal sort of situation to use the BolaWrap,” Lt. Johnson said.

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