(Update: Adding video, comments from Bend Police)
Added, trained on the use of a dozen of the ‘remote restraint devices’ last year
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ ) — A handheld remote device called the Bola Wrap is a new tool in the Bend Police Department’s toolbelt, designed to detain someone without using deadly force.
The goal is to detain or take someone into custody who is for whatever reasons unwilling to comply with the officers’ direction.
The handheld device shoots about a 7 1/2-foot-long tether, with weights on the end, similar to a fish hook, that’s propelled out of the device. The tether will wrap around a person’s legs to prevent them from fleeing.
All of Bend’s officers were trained on how to handle the device back in September. Bend police now have a dozen of the Bola Wraps in their possession.
“Our department had these (Bola Wraps) put into the vehicles in December,” police Communications Manager Sheila Miller said Wednesday. “We haven’t deployed one yet.”
The devices are kept in the cars of the corporals, who are supervisors on the patrol teams.
“It is used in agencies around the country,” Miller said. “It’s pretty new — it kind of seems like a Batman-like device, something Batman would have on his toolbelt.”
Miller explained the situations in which they will be used.
“We’re not going to use this on somebody who has a weapon in their hands,” she said. “We’re not going to use it on someone who is actively being physical with an officer.”
It can also be used as a distraction — the device lets off an alarmingly loud noise. When it deploys, someone will often look down at their legs, confused, allowing officers to take them into custody safely.
“We received a grant for $9,477,” Miller said. “We covered over the remaining over $4,000 to purchase these 12 Bola Wrap devices. It also came with a total of, I believe, 72 cartridges and then 12 things they can sit on the belt that officers use.”
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office told us it has not added the Bola Wrap to its toolset.
Here’s a demonstration of the device: