SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – A new device called the BolaWrap, meant to safely restrain suspects or individuals in danger, is now being used by the Summerville Police Department.
The tool was created to give officers a way to subdue suspects or individuals who appear aggravated or mentally ill suspects.
The Summerville Police Department is the first to obtain the non-lethal option in the Tri-county area. Sgt. Shaun Tumbleston with the agency said the big thing the department is trying to mitigate is hurting people and hurting the officers themselves.
He explained the BolaWrap is a tool to ease tensions in what some would describe as their more critical calls.
The new option is able to deploy an 8-foot Kevlar rope from 10 to 21 feet away. Sgt. Tumbleston said that once released from the 36 caliber blank, the rope then wraps around the suspect or individual at risk of harming themselves or others and latches together with fish hooks.
Sgt. Tumbleston explained that the BolaWrap comes with safety, and when armed it has a green laser to help with accuracy. He also said that due to the 36 caliber blank inside, when deployed—the BolaWrap will make a noise.
Despite being non-lethal, officers are required to go through an 8-hour annual training day to ensure proper usage. Even more, the officers are told which side to keep the device on to ensure there’s no mistake in drawing the wrong tool or weapon.
He said, “We keep it on our reactionary side, it’s also a very bright yellow to help distinguish in a stressful situation it’s readily identifiable.”
While none of the five BolaWraps that are currently on the streets throughout Summerville have been deployed, Sgt. Tumbleston said the department is looking to get more.
“So the more we have on the street, if the officer is on a call at the time at the time, they won’t have to wait for another officer to get there. They can try to effectively handle the situation. Back up maybe in a period of time or backed up on calls so if every officer has one in a perfect scenario, they can handle what they need to.” Sgt. Thumbleston said.
The department told News 2, they hope to obtain 115 more devices through Federal Grant Programs to save taxpayer money.