Police considering new device to use in mental health situations

New York News

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) — Police departments are looking at a new tool that seems like it’s straight out of a comic book. They say the device could prevent them from using deadly force.

To some it may sound like a gun shot, but it’s not. It’s called the BolaWrap and when it’s fired, it shoots a kevlar cord around a person’s waist or legs.

“We can wrap them up, secure them with the least amount of force as possible,” said Chief Steven Abbott with the Lockport Police Department.

It’s something Chief Steven Abbott says he’s looking at for his officers to use if and when they encounter people who are mentally ill. He says he understands officers aren’t mental health experts.

“But we still need to do our part and make the public understand we’re going to do everything we can to bring a situation to a pain-free resolution as possible,” said Abbott.

Chief Abbott invited several other local law enforcement agencies to see how the BolaWrap works Tuesday in Lockport, including Buffalo Police. Captain Jeff Rinaldo says they’re looking at BolaWrap, as they are currently testing tasers for their department.

“We were quite impressed. Any type of de-escalation technique that a department uses buying time and distance for the officers is of critical importance,” said Rinaldo.

The BolaWrap has a safety and a green laser for officers to aim. Once an officer shoots, the cord wraps around a person several times and hooks into a person’s clothes.

Captain Rinaldo says this tool could be critical in stand off situations.

“Contain that individual and take them into custody by using less force than using a taser, pepper spray or a baton would use,” said Rinaldo.

“I’m not saying this is the end all be all. This is just a tool,” said Abbott.

Abbott says it’ll be a $50,000 to $55,000 price tag for Lockport Police to buy the initial equipment. He says they plan to test the devices out by getting at least two for the department.

Abbott says some of their officers will be trained by the company in the coming weeks.

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