BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AL.com) — One of the latest crime-fighting tools - a lasso of sorts- is being evaluated by the Birmingham Police Department as another non-lethal option to stop a suspect who is fighting arrest.
The BolaWrap 100 is a hand-held remote restraint device that discharges an eight-foot bola-style Kevlar tether to entangle a suspect at a range of 10 to 25 feet. It looks much like an electric razor but sounds like handgun when fired.
It's the newest device on the market and is touted as an alternative to "pain compliance" techniques such as pepper spray or a Taser stun gun. Proponents say it lessens the chance of injury or aggression.
"The whole idea here is to create better options for law enforcement so that we can take people into custody, even if it's just a diversion, so that officers can come in and take them into custody without injury or harm, particularly if there is someone suffering from mental illness,'' said Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith. "It's very encouraging."
Wrap Technologies Inc. on Monday demonstrated the BolaWrap to officers from Birmingham, Mountain Brook, Bessemer, Oxford and Lawson State.
Law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S. are testing the device. Birmingham is among two dozen departments doing internal testing. The others are in California, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Missouri, Florida, Illinois and New Jersey.
The BolaWrap is already being field tested by six agencies tested in Utah, Florida, Illinois, California and Georgia.