Hillsborough Deputies Using New Non-Lethal De-Escalation Device
The equipment is similar to the size of a taser and uses a tether to wrap around a person's abdomen or legs to temporarily restrain them until an arrest can be made.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is now using a new form of non-lethal defense and de-escalation after a successful pilot program that equipped 20 deputies with the device.
Sheriff Chad Chronister said the BolaWrap is the next step in “better policing.”
“It's almost like something out of a spider man movie, how it the tether comes out with hooks and quickly wraps around an individual's legs and is able to subdue that subject,” Chronister said.
The device can be deployed from a distance of up to 25 feet to restrain individuals at the early stages of a confrontation, before it escalates and necessitates a higher degree of force.
Similar to the size of a taser, the cost is $1,000 apiece. The refill cartridges are $100.
The sheriff showed two body camera videos of the BolaWrap in action. In one, a man lobs a chair at a deputy and the deputy yells “Wrap! Wrap! Wrap!” before deploying the tethers around the man's legs and then rushing up to handcuff him.
In the other, a man in distress is flopping around in a pond and deputies deploy the device to keep him from harming himself or others.
"Across our country, we have seen a demand for law enforcement agencies to expand use of force de-escalation tactics," Chronister said. "We believe that requires every agency, including our own, to evaluate its practices and find room for growth. We are proud to answer that call by implementing the BolaWrap."
The sheriff didn’t specify whether the money for the devices came from the general fund, but said “Us being good stewards, being conservative with the taxpayer money. We had the funds available and we use those funds to (make) purchases.”
Chronister says 165 officers will be equipped with the device and spread throughout the county.