Fort Worth police demonstrate BolaWrap, a new nonlethal weapon
It’s a tool that will not work for all arrests in all situations, police say.
But in the right circumstances, the BolaWrap can be a nonlethal and painless way to ensnare an individual who in the past might have required police to use more drastic measures.
The BolaWrap is Kevlar cord ejected from a small device that will wrap around a suspect’s arms or legs and render the suspect temporarily incapable of free movement, Fort Worth police Lt. Todd Plowman explained.
SWAT officers used the tool during a barricaded person call at the Willow Glen Apartment complex, 1301 Sycamore School Road in south Fort Worth, on Saturday, Plowman said. A man with a shotgun was threatening to harm a woman and her mother, Plowman said.
The SWAT officers deployed a quick evaporating chemical agent that forced the suspect outside the apartment, and once he was outside, used the BolaWrap to ensnare him, Plowman said. The suspect left the shotgun inside the apartment, Plowman said. Once the suspect was immobilized, officers were able to move quickly to complete the arrest, Plowman said.
“We are trying to prevent escalation on the part of the officer and on the part of the suspect,” Plowman said.
During a demonstration exercise, SWAT Officer Daniel McCreery used the BolaWrap to lasso Deputy Chief Ty Hadsell. The tool consists of 8 feet of Kevlar cord that is shot from a canister at a range of 10 to 25 feet away from the target, McCreery said.
Barbs at either end of the cord grab hold of the target as the wire wraps tightly around the suspect’s arms or legs, making movement difficult if not impossible.
“The only way we’re going to hurt someone is if the barbs go into someone’s skin,” McCreery said. “And even then it’s not going to hurt that much. We don’t want to hurt anyone.”
The woman and her mother were able to free themselves from the situation before the suspect barricaded himself inside the apartment, according to authorities.
Fort Worth is believed to be the first police department to deploy the tool during an arrest.
“This is an example of the importance of providing the right tools for police officers for the right situations. The BolaWrap 100 was able to be deployed from a distance to assist S.W.A.T. officers in the apprehension, while minimizing injury to the suspect,” according to a statement from Michael Rothans, chief operating officer at Wrap Technologies, the company that makes the BolaWrap.