Avon police officers add new non-lethal tool to their arsenal by deploying lasso restraints
On June 30, two Avon Police officers responded to a report of a potentially dangerous subject wielding a knife. When contacted, the suspect, who refused to comply with officer demands and advanced on one of the responding officers, was restrained by an unlikely tool. One of the officers on scene deployed the BolaWrap, a remote-restraint lasso tool that is quickly becoming a go-to device for law enforcement departments around the country.
Bodycam footage of the June 30 arrest shows one officer announcing the tool, saying “I’m going to Bola you,” he warned, “Bola, Bola, Bola!”
With the push of trigger and a loud pop of gunpowder, two Kevlar ropes with tiny fishhooks at their ends jet out of the device and wrap around the suspect, giving law enforcement time to detain and arrest the individual.
“We were able to safely get that suspect into custody without any harm to the suspect or without any harm to the officers,” Avon Chief of Police Greg Daly said.
The bodycam footage, which captured the Avon Police Department’s first use of the BolaWrap, became somewhat of an example video used for training and marketing purposes on the BolaWrap website, Daly said.
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In criminal situations like the June 30 arrest, Daly said the BolaWrap is a useful tool for getting hands on a suspect without needing to use a higher level of force, be it physically or with a tool considered “less lethal” like pepper spray or Taser.
However, Daly also described non-criminal situations in which the Bola Wrap’s effectiveness as a remote restraint tool makes it an applicable tool. For example, Daly said the tool can be useful in situations where police are contacting individuals struggling with mental and behavioral health issues. With the BolaWrap, law enforcement officers can detain individuals more easily and safely if deployment is successful.
However, like any tool, Daly explained that the BolaWrap will not always be 100% effective.
“There are a number of variables involved, but it is an additional tool in our tool belt of trying to ultimately de-escalate the situation and bring it to a safe conclusion for the individual that we’re dealing with and obviously for our officers,” Daly said.
According to the BolaWrap website, the company aims for “safer policing outcomes through innovative technology.” With the lower risk to subjects and officers involved, the BolaWrap prides itself on being a unique tool for promoting public safety.
“BolaWrap is the only law enforcement tool that doesn’t rely on pain compliance,” the product’s website reports.
Daly said the Avon Police Department spearheaded BolaWrap’s presence in the Eagle River Valley. After the tool was brought to the department’s attention in late 2021, three units were ordered and officers were trained to use the tool.
However, with only three BolaWraps within the entire police department, Daly said coordinating the tools’ use between day and night shifts became too complicated. So, he said the town of Avon approved BolaWraps for every officer in the police department’s 2022 budget. Since, Avon Police Officers are equipped with their BolaWrap at all times.
Daly said the tool has proven to be a useful one to be kept on hand, calling them “remote handcuffs” of sorts.
“We are obviously constantly evaluating how we do business and how we can do business better,” Daly said.
He said the BolaWrap reflects Avon Police Department’s dedication to consistent improvement.