BREWSTER, Ohio (WJW) — Brewster police are among the first to use a new non-lethal device they believe will help de-escalate situations before they evolve into something more dangerous.
In a number of their calls, officers find themselves confronted by upset and non-compliant people, some of whom refuse to be reasoned with although they are not being aggressive or threatening to officers.
Chief Keith Creter says when he first saw a device called BolaWrap on social media, he realized it could easily help them in just such circumstances.
“The resistive, the non-compliant that we have an opportunity within three to five minutes to deescalate the whole situation that’s what we want to do,” said Creter.
“That’s our whole goal, get them detained, get them what help they need.”
The BolaWrap looks like a large cell phone. It uses a charge from a .38 caliber blank cartridge to deploy an eight-foot long Kevlar tether at high speed.
The tether has barbed anchors on each end and when it strikes the suspect it wraps around them like a lasso.
It can be directed at the lower torso or the upper legs to help restrict their movements and allow officers to safely approach the suspect without harming the suspect or themselves.
“With the total shock of just hearing the shot alone then being deployed quickly, it’s on you quickly we are on them quickly, no pain they don’t have time to think about it and we get them the help they need, that is what we are looking for,” said Creter.
It is another non-lethal tool in the toolbox for the department. Creter says it will not be used on individuals who are charging the officers, running from officers, or who present a physical threat.
The BolaWrap, however, comes at a savings of thousands per unit when compared to a taser and Creter says there is no mandatory trip to the hospital as there is when a taser is deployed.
“The most pain they may receive off of this is if the barb goes through the clothing it may hook into the skin for a brief moment, if that’s the case it’s a simple Band-Aid does not require hospitalization at all,” said Creter.
The department, which has a total of 16 officers, still has and will use tasers and their department issued weapons when officers deem, they are necessary.
But Creter says the new tool may give them an opportunity to quickly end some scenarios before they escalate to where officers may need to use something else