The Front Line Initiative reports that representatives of the initiative’s five member departments attended a demonstration Tuesday of a new remote restraint device meant to help police detain individuals while reducing risk of injuries.
Tyngsborough Police Chief Richard Howe and the Tyngsborough Police Department hosted the demonstration on Tuesday morning. Commanders from five Front Line Initiative departments, Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Tewksbury and Tyngsborough, were able see and evaluate the device’s performance.
The BolaWrap 150 was designed to restrain an individual from 10 to 25 feet away, with less risk than other less-than-lethal devices because the BolaWrap does not rely on pain, chemicals, or electricity to gain compliance. The Bolawrap is designed to help reduce injuries to both individuals and police officers, by reducing the need for officers to engage in physical struggles.
The device launches a 7.5-foot Kevlar cord with small anchors attached on each end that wraps around an individual, briefly restraining the target.
Chief Howe has participated in several demonstrations of the device. He recommended it be evaluated by other Front Line departments and Front Line Executive Director Matthew Page-Shelton.
“I’m really grateful that all of the stakeholders involved in the Front Line Initiative came together and saw the value in bringing this device under the umbrella of our collaborate mental health initiative. I truly believe it will be an important tool.”
Howe said the Municipal Police Training Commission is currently evaluating the devices to ensure they’re approved for use in Massachusetts, but that he and other Front Line chiefs intend to purchase and the deploy the devices with officers once it is possible.
Front Line member departments are working in collaboration with the Front Line Initiative to plan for those purchases.
“We think this will be a great fit for officers, especially when combined with Crisis Intervention Team Training and co-response clinicians, because the Bolawrap will give officers an option for detaining suspects that has a lower risk of injury than either Tasers, or even use of hands-on physical force,” Chief Howe said. “In situations where we are dealing with individuals in mental health crisis, this will give us an option to safely detain someone while using the minimum amount of force.”
“I think the more options we have to safely interact with and assist those in mental health crisis, the better,” said Chelmsford Police Chief James Spinney. “We continue to adapt and modify our responses and tools to improve outcomes for those with mental health and behavioral health issues.”
“Any device that helps us ensure that our officers have options to safely conclude any incident with the last amount of force necessary would be a welcome addition,” said Tewksbury Chief Ryan Columbus.
For more information on BolaWrap, visit: https://wrap.com/.