BEAUFORT, S.C. (Sept. 10, 2020) – The Beaufort Police Department has invested in the BolaWrap, a tool that makes taking people into custody safer for both officers and those they are arresting. The BolaWrap is a hand-held remote restraint device that discharges an 8-foot Kevlar tether that can entangle a subject at a range of 10-25 feet.
"We have been exploring ways to make the job safer for officers and those we encounter,” said Interim Chief Dale McDorman. “One of the most difficult things we do is take people into custody. We believe this will make it safer."
The device has four hooks at either end of the tether, which wraps around the subject. The “lasso” is designed to either restrain the arms or the legs. The device issues a loud pop as the tether is released at 640 feet/second.
The BolaWrap has been in use for about four years. It is now used by police agencies across the country, and in many other countries, according to instructor David Pritchard. It was actually designed to mimic the bolas, used in South America by wranglers to entangle an animal’s legs, he said.
Members of the media, as well as City Council members, watched a demonstration on Sept. 9, which was first shown on a mannequin and then on several live subjects, including Mayor Billy Keyserling, Mayor ProTem Mike McFee, and Councilman Stephen Murray.
Each BolaWrap costs $1,000. The department has purchased five of them, one to use on each shift, according to Capt. George Erdel, the department’s public information officer. Several officers in the department have been certified as instructors, he said. Training takes 4-5 hours.
This BolaWrap is another example of the Police Department’s commitment ensuring that its officers are trained in various methods that make encounters with potential suspects safer. Several officers have undergone training in Gracie Survival Tactics, a defensive system based on Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
YouTube demonstration of BolaWrap