Glenwood Springs police invest in “Bolawrap” technology to help reduce use of force

Published: Jan. 16, 2022 at 11:43 PM MST|Updated: Jan. 17, 2022 at 5:45 AM MST
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Police departments across the country are under scrutiny over use of excessive force. In Glenwood Springs, the police chief is looking at different ways to help make interactions between officers and suspects safer. One solution, the chief says, is a device called the BolaWrap 100.

Officers started using the device a year ago to avoid higher levels of force. It’s meant to wrap around a person’s legs or arms to restrict their movement.

“It’s like a very small fish hook that grabs onto the clothing and wraps up that body really tight. So they are unable to move,” said Chief Joseph Deras. “Almost like the old Batman movies with a grappling hook,” he added.

If for some reason the device doesn’t hook on to the clothes, officers say it still startles the person.

“Typically stuns their movement, causes them to take pause, which is then a window of opportunity for officers to take control of the person,” said Deras.

He says the main goal of the device is to reduce injury to both officers and suspects when someone is being non-compliant.

“We have been able to contact these people at a distance, which has a number of benefits to it with our ability to react to any kind of threat that they might present to us,” said Deras. “And also, again to contain their movement and their ability to move away from the officers in a safe manner,” he added.

Officers have used the device three times in the past year.

“The people were a little bit unbalanced or really kind of going through a mental crisis, and they’re making remarks about homicidal idealization, wanting to kill people, or wanting us to shoot them,” said Chief Deras.

The agency currently has six devices. The goal is to eventually have enough for every officer.

“For the price that it costs cities to acquire this technology, I think it’s a small price to pay for the end result where no one is hurt and no one is killed,” said Chief Deras.

11 News reached out to other local agencies to see if they are using the BolaWrap device. Colorado Springs, El Paso County and Pueblo are not using the technology at this time.

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